Chapter 1: Pilot
If you unknowingly wandered into the old warehouse, it was unlikely you'd ever notice anyone was there. Even if you brought a flashlight and really craned you neck to peer into the darkest shadows, it would be almost impossible to see the two teenage girls sat cross legged at the back of the room; sisters, one a handful of years older than the other. "This is a bad idea, Valeria," the youngest said uneasily, looking down at the paper her sister had gripped in her fist.
Valeria smiled. "Don't be stupid, Beatrice," she said in the know-it-all way that older sisters do, "it's only a dumb urban legend."
Beatrice inspected the words a little closer. It was a Latin passage she had found on some creepy chatroom, and upon showing Valeria, the older had demanded she copy it out. Beatrice should have known it would end like this, in a warehouse in the dark. Valeria loved tricks and pranks, but like now, often took them too far. "Please, Val," Beatrice tried again, placing a hand on her sister's forearm as though to pull her towards the exit. In response, Valeria laughed.
"Stop being so childish!" She berated her. She lifted up the paper and squinted, trying to adjust to reading the passage in the dark, and then read the Latin words aloud. Her pronunciation was a little off, but it was enough to strike fear into Beatrice's heart. When done, Valeria looked up expectantly, but nothing happened. Beatrice almost breathed out a sigh of relief, but her face fell even further when the window above them smashed, and as glass rained down upon them, black smoke shot into the room.
Valeria swore loudly, a word Beatrice had only heard her mother use when drunk. The older girl shouldered past her sister towards the warehouse exit. "Valeria!" Beatrice screamed as she stumbled, struggling to catch up.
Valeria ignored her. She grasped the door handle and pulled open the door, but as she did the smoke bypassed Beatrice, drifting by her head, and it forced itself into Valeria's open, screaming mouth and down her throat. As her eyes flashed black and a nasty grin twisted her face, her body jerked and twisted unnaturally and then her head jerked violently to one side. Beatrice heard every bone in her neck break simultaneously. The body crumpled, and as it did the black smoke escaped through her nose and flew back through the window, leaving Beatrice alone in the dark.
“Valeria?” Beatrice whispered, placing a tentative hand on her sister’s shoulder.
Valeria didn't move. Her eyes were glassy and unseeing and, as Beatrice met her unfocused gaze, she realized with a harsh pang that her sister was dead; and it was all her fault.
Beatrice Di Angelis awoke in a cold sweat. Inside her chest, her heart thundered so violently she was worried it would burst straight through her rib-cage and onto the motel sheets, though they were so dirty, one more bloodstain was unlikely to make much of a difference. She cursed under her breath, collapsing back against her pillow as she tried to assure herself that it had only been a dream; even though she knew, it wasn't. Her sister was dead. It was her fault.
The motel room was dimply lit only by the dull glow of a laptop screen that her roommate and best friend was hunched over and she realized he was in fact sleeping, and not working like he should have been, when she heard him snoring. "Dean?" She sat up in bed, pushing her hair back from her eyes. "Dean, wake up."
He bolted upright from a dead sleep, near enough knocking his laptop from the table onto the floor. "What? Who died?" He asked almost comically, looking around the room in a half asleep daze. Beatrice rolled her eyes and got out of bed. She stood behind his chair, reaching over him to close the lid of the laptop, plunging the room into darkness.
"No one died, Dean," she said, "just a bad dream."
"Ah. Right." Dean nodded knowingly. He sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes with his flannel sleeve; the same flannel he had been wearing for three days. "Your sister?" He asked, and Beatrice nodded mutely. "We're gonna put an end to this soon, I promise."
Beatrice hummed in response. After a moment of quiet, she said, "thank you Dean, really. For everything.”
"You're welcome," he yawned, twisting around in his chair to throw an arm around her waist and draw her into his side, almost pulling her over in the process. "It's my job to look after you. You're like... the little sister I never wanted."
Beatrice rolled her eyes playfully and threw his arm off. "Any word on Sam?"
Dean nodded and got up from the table, stretching his back out and glancing at the clock on the wall opposite. "If we set off now we could reach him in a couple of hours."
Beatrice nodded and threw a jacket on over the clothes she had fallen asleep in. "Alright. Then let's get going."
She locked the motel door behind them and then waited by the side of the Impala for Dean to drop the keys off at the front desk, even though it was late and there was likely to be no one there. He appeared after a moment and got in the driver's side while Beatrice slid in shotgun. "Ozzy?" He asked, holding up a cassette tape.
Beatrice grinned. The years she had spent hunting with Dean and, once upon a time his Father, had really shaped her music taste. "Good call," she affirmed. Dean grinned back and slid the tape into the player. "Alright," Beatrice said, sinking down comfortably into her seat, "let's go."
"Dean," Beatrice's voice was weary as she addressed him. They had been driving for hours and now, on the other side, she watched Dean attempt to shimmy awkwardly up the drainpipe towards Sam's window. "I don't think you're going to achieve anything by breaking in. Maybe... I don't know, /knocking/ would work better?"
"Shut up," Dean grunted with the effort of pulling himself up onto Sam's fire escape. He reached down and grasped Beatrice's outstretched hands to pull her up. "You got a knife?" He asked as she dusted herself off.
"You came unarmed?" She whispered back, taking her switchblade from her back pocket and handing it to him.
"Armed with guns, sure," he said as he wiggled the knife under the latch, "but guns ain't gonna do a whole lot of good breaking into an apartment, not unless we want Sammy to call the cops." The latch popped open and the window slid loose. He held it open for her while she climbed in, and then landed beside her with an unruly crash, making her cringe.
"Nice job," she berated him under her breath. Dean rolled his eyes and pulled himself up to his feet. A creak came from somewhere across the room but before her eyes could adjust to the dark and make out the source of the noise, Dean was on the ground, atop a tall, gangling figure who stared up at him, stunned, the baseball bat he had been armed with discarded somewhere under the coffee table.
"Easy tiger," Dean grinned down at his brother.
"Dean?" Sam cried. "you scared the crap out of me!"
"That's because you're out of practice," Dean shot back. Sam scowled, throwing Dean off and pinning him by his shoulders. "or not. Get off me." He shoved his brother onto the floor with his knee and then got to his feet.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Sam demanded as Dean crossed the room towards the fridge. His gaze was drawn from Dean to Beatrice, who lingered awkwardly still by the window. "And who the hell are you?"
“Well, that's Bea. And I'm getting a beer.”
“It’s just Beatrice.” She corrected him but both men ignored her.
“But what the Hell are you doing here?” Sam reiterated, visibly frustrated.
"Okay, alright, we gotta talk," Den admitted defeat, glancing up at Sam as he opened his beer on the side of the counter. Sam stared at him like he'd grown a second head and folded his arms defensively over his notably broad chest. Beatrice found herself struggling to focus on his face, before silently reprimanding herself. They were there on a job. Dean caught her staring and he smirked devilishly at her, but she pretended not to notice.
"The phone?" Sam suggested.
"If I'd have called, would you have picked up?" Dean countered. Behind him, a pretty, blonde girl appeared in the doorway, sleepily rubbing her eyes.
"Sam?" She said quietly. Beatrice shot a glare in Dean's direction, an expression that cried, 'you failed to mention her'.
"Dean, Bea, this is my girlfriend Jessica." Sam introduced them with a smile on his face, but Beatrice see how strained it was and could hear the contempt in his voice.
"Wait, your brother Dean?" Jess smiled and turned to Beatrice. "You must be his girlfriend."
"That's right!" Beatrice said brightly, cutting in before Sam or Dean had a chance to. "We're sorry for dropping in so late but we were driving through the area and, well, Dean and I just couldn't resist paying Sam a visit. Isn't that right, Dean?" She stared over at him intently but he was looking at Jess, seemingly in a daze.
"Oh, I love the smurfs," he said dreamily, noting the design on her pyjama shirt, "you know, I gotta tell you, you are way out of my brother's league."
Jess' smile became a little awkward. "I'm gonna go put something on."
"Oh no, I wouldn't dream of it. Seriously. Anyway, we gotta borrow your boyfriend here to talk about some private family business."
"No," Sam said firmly, "anything you want to say, you can say in front of her."
Dean stared at his brother for a moment, visibly swallowing any frustration he had briefly allowed to rise. "Alright. Dad hasn't been home in a few days."
"So he's working overtime on a miller time shift. He'll stumble back in sooner or later." Sam said with a roll of his eyes. Dean laughed, but the sound was hollow.
"Dad's on a hunting trip, and he hasn't been home in a few days."
Beatrice could almost see through Sam's skull into the mechanics ticking away in his brain. His hazel eyes narrowed in thought, and then he placed a gentle hand on his girlfriend's shoulder, offering her a warm smile. "Excuse us, Jess," he said, "Dean and I have to go outside."
"I'll just... stay here, I guess." Beatrice sighed, though no one really paid her much attention. She made herself comfortable at the table and began worrying a loose thread at the hem of her shirt. Jess sat opposite her, flashing her an awkward smile before looking around the room, trying to focus on anything other than making eye contact, let alone conversation, with Beatrice. A few moments passed, and then the awkward silence was broken as Sam and Dean returned, their expressions grim.
"So, you're taking off?" Jess asked before Sam could say anything. "This about your dad? He okay?"
"Yeah. You know, just a little family drama."
"Your brother said he was on some kind of hunting trip."
"Oh, yeah. He's just deer hunting up at the cabin. He's probably got Jim, Jack, and José along with him. I'm just going to bring him back."
"What about the interview?"
"I'll make the interview. I'll only be gone a couple of days."
"Sam!" Jess called. Sam stopped by the door, craning his neck to look back at her over his shoulder. "I mean, please. Just stop, for a second. You sure you're okay?"
"It's just.. you won't even talk about your family. And now you're taking off in the middle of the night to spend a weekend with them? And with Monday coming up, which is kind a huge deal..."
"Hey, everything's going to be fine," Sam assured her, stooping to press a kiss to her cheek, "I will be back in time, I promise."
"At least tell me where you're going!" Jess cried, but by the time she'd finished, the three of them had gone.
They drove for five hours before pulling up outside a gas station. Dean disappeared into the kiosk, leaving Sam to fill the tank while Beatrice flicked through a local newspaper. Dean reappeared after a moment with two paper bags, stuffed full with beer and junk food. "Dean, what is that?" Beatrice asked, wrinkling her nose.
"Breakfast," he said, his mouth full of sausage. He dropped the bag in between his seat and Sam's, "you two want any?"
“No thanks," Sam answered for both of them. "So, how'd you pay for that stuff? You and Dad still running credit card scams?"
"Yeah, well hunting isn't exactly a pro ball career."
"That's one way to put it," Beatrice mumbled, fishing in her own rucksack for a fruit yogurt she had packed the night before. She'd spent enough time around Dean that his unhealthy food nauseated her.
"All we do is apply," Dean defended himself, "it's not our fault they actually send the cards." By that point, Beatrice had stopped listening. She was preoccupied with a strawberry yogurt.
"Yeah? And what names did you write on the application this time?" Sam asked.
"Uh, Burt Afram. And his son Hector."
"That sounds about right, man. Hey, you gotta update your cassette collection."
"Why?" Dean looked at Sam like he’d insulted his honour instead of his music.
"Well, for one, they're cassette tapes. And two," he pulled out a cassette, "Black Sabbath? Motorhead? Metallica? It's the greatest hits of mullet rock."
"Well, house rules Sammy. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cake hole."
"You know, Sammy is a chubby twelve year old." Sam grumbled from the front of the car. "It's Sam, okay?"
"Sorry, can't hear you, music's too loud," Dean grinned, turning up AC/DC's 'Back in Black' to full volume.
Sam sighed, finally admitting defeat. Beatrice chuckled, leaning forward, "you get used to it."
"You'd think." He grumbled.
It was another two hours before they arrived in Jericho and Beatrice spent most of that time napping. After all, she'd spent half the night crossing the country, chasing after Sam. "Alright, thanks," Sam closed the phone and yawned, "so, there's no one matching Dad at the morgue or hospital, so that's something I guess."
Dean hummed in acknowledgement, pulling up towards a bridge, but without warning he slammed on the breaks, almost sending Beatrice flying through the windshield. The bridge was mostly taped off, and swarming with police officers. "Hey, check this out." He rummaged through the box of fake IDs he kept stored in the glove compartment, handing one to both Sam and Beatrice.
"Buffy Summers?" She said with a roll of her eyes. "Really?”
"That's a great show," Dean defended himself.
Beatrice didn't want to humour him with a comeback. She simply sighed, pulled her hair into a low ponytail and followed the brothers towards the crime scene. As they approached, she could just make out little snippets of conversation between a pair of officers. "You find anything yet?"
"No sign of struggle, no fingerprints. Nothing. Spotless. It's almost too clean."
"So this kid, Troy. He's dating your daughter, isn't he?”
"How's Amy doing?"
"She's putting missing persons posters up downtown."
Dean leaned against the hood of a nearby cop car, observing the two officers who had finally noticed the trio of hunters approaching. "You fellas had another one like this a few months back, correct?" Dean questioned casually.
"And who are you?" The first officer asked suspiciously, his eyes narrowed. The three of them flashed their FBI badges.
"You three a little young for Marshalls, aren't you?" He asked, eyeing Beatrice in particular.
"Thank you, that's very kind," she responded sarcastically. "You did have another one just like this, correct?"
"Yeah, that's right. About a mile up the road. There have been others before that."
"So the victim, you knew him?" Sam asked, taking out a small notebook. The officer nodded.
"Town like this, everybody knows everybody."
"Any connections between the victims, despite that they're all men?" Dean chimed in.
"No. Not so far as we can tell."
"So, what's the theory?" Beatrice asked, pulling herself up to sit on the hood of the car Dean had been leaning against, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Honestly? We don't know. Serial murdering? Kidnapping ring?"
"Well, that is exactly the kind of crack police work I'd expect from you guys," Dean said. Every one of his words dripped with sarcasm. Sam rolled his eyes and stepped hard on Dean's foot.
"Thank you for your time," Beatrice said, shooting Dean an unimpressed look. "Gentlemen," she smiled warmly and pulled the two brothers away from the crime scene. As they left, Dean smacked Sam around the back of the head.
"Ow! What was that for?" Sam snapped.
"Why'd you have to step on my foot?"
"Why do you have to talk to officers like that?"
"Come on, they don't really know what's going on," Beatrice sighed, already tired of the brother's bickering. She didn't think she could take much more of it, "we're all alone on this, I mean, if we're going to find your dad, we've got to get to the bottom of this thing ourselves."
As they approached the Impala, two genuine FBI agents and a sheriff headed in their direction towards the crime scene. "Can I help you kids?" The sheriff asked.
"No, Sir. We were just leaving." Beatrice flashed a charming smile.
"Agent Mulder, Scully," Dean muttered, earning him a dig in the ribs.
As they wandered through the streets of Jericho, Beatrice couldn't help but notice that it was more of a ghost town than the tight knit community they had been promised by the officers. Across the road from them, a lone teenage girl pinned 'missing' posters to lamp posts outside a diner. Beatrice paused to take a look at one as they passed.
'MISSING. TROY SQUIRE'.
"I'll bet you anything that's this Amy chick," Beatrice said to the brothers.
"I think you might be right," Dean agreed. He jogged across the road, trying to catch up with the girl in a way that, in his head, was probably far less creepy than it actually looked. "Hey, are you Amy?" He called. The girl stopped, turning around to face them cautiously.
"Yeah, that's me," she said as Sam and Beatrice joined his side.
"Troy told us about you," Dean explained, breathless from jogging, "we're his uncles. I'm Dean, this is my wife Bea and my younger brother Sammy."
"He never mentioned you to me," Amy said uneasily, leaning against the red brick wall of the cafe beside her. She looked unconvinced.
"Well, that's Troy, I guess." Dean chuckled.
"We're not around very much. We're up in Modesto," Sam explained. Another young woman came out of the diner and wrapped an arm around Amy's shoulders.
"Hey, are you okay?" She asked Amy gently.
"Yeah," Amy said, though she didn't sound overly convincing.
"Do you mind if we ask a couple of questions?" Beatrice asked. A 'Troy Squire' poster flapped by aimlessly in the breeze. Amy nodded and the trio followed her and her friend into the diner.
"I was on the phone with Troy," Amy sighed as she slid into a booth opposite them, "he was driving home. He said he'd call me right back, but he never did."
"He didn't say anything strange, or out of the ordinary?" Sam asked.
"No.. nothing I can remember."
"I like your necklace," Beatrice chimed in, looking at the pentagram charm hanging from a black shoestring around her slender neck. Amy smiled warmly, looking down at it herself. "Thanks. Troy bought it for me, to scare my parents with all that devil stuff."
"Actually, it means just the opposite." Sam told her. "A pentagram is one of the most powerful protective symbols, if you believe in that stuff."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Thank you, unsolved mysteries." He leaned forward on the table. "Here's the deal. The way Troy disappeared, something's not right. So if you've heard anything..." He expected Amy to answer, but instead, her friend looked down, seemingly uncomfortable and catching Beatrice’s attention.
"What is it?" She asked.
"Well... it's just... with all these guys going missing, people talk."
"What do they talk about?" Beatrice pressed.
"It's kind of a local legend," the girl explained with an extended sigh, "this one girl? She got murdered out on Centennial, like decades ago. Anyway, she's supposedly still out there. She hitchhikes, and whoever picks her up? Well, they disappear forever."
Beatrice exchanged a knowing glance with Sam and Dean. "Ladies, thank you for your time," she said, getting to her feet. "Give us a call if you think of anything else." She scribbled her number down on a piece of paper and slid it across the table towards them before following the brothers back out into the street. "What do you think?" She asked, "d'you think we have our spirit?"
Dean shrugged. "I think there's a pretty damn good chance."
Apologies for the delay between updates!
Life became suddenly and unapologetically hectic these last few weeks and I've barely had time to sit down, let alone open my laptop and post! But thankfully things have calmed down a little, and I'm ready to settle back down into regularly scheduled updates. Thank you all for being patient, and please enjoy the chapter!
After leaving the diner, the three of them made their way to the local library to research the alleged murdered woman. Dean positioned himself at the last available computer and opened up the browser, his fingers tapping agonisingly slowly at the keys as he typed into the search engine, and visibly irritating both Sam and Beatrice, though he chose not to notice.
'Female murder hitchhiking'
His search pulled up nothing.
‘Female Centennial highway murder'
"Let me try." Sam said as he reached around his brother to try to get to the computer, but Dean scowled and childishly slapped his hand away.
"I got it." He insisted. Sam rolled his eyes and shoved Dean's chair to one side, positioning himself in front of the computer instead. "Dude! You're such a control freak," Dean snapped, but he finally relented and allowed his brother to take control.
"So, angry spirits are born out of violent death, right?" Sam thought aloud, ignoring Dean.
"Yeah?" Dean said, still sulking a little.
"Well, maybe it's not murder." He replaced 'murder' with suicide, and the screen flooded with results. He shot a triumphant look at Dean, who huffed loudly.
'Suicide on Centennial; A local woman's drowning death was ruled a suicide, the county sheriff's department said earlier today. Constance Welch, 24, of 4636 Breckenridge road, leapt off Sylvania bridge at mile 33 centennial highway and subsequently drowned last night.'
"Does it say why did it?" Beatrice asked, struggling to peer around both Sam and Dean at the computer screen.
"An hour before they found her, she calls 911. Apparently her two little kids are in the bathtub. She leaves them alone for a minute, and when she comes back, they aren't breathing. Both die." Sam read aloud. "Our babies were gone, and Constance just couldn't bare it."
"That bridge look familiar to you?" Dean asked, studying the black and white picture attached to the article.
"That's where Troy died." Beatrice responded, secretly pleased she'd been able to help.
It was dark. The night was consuming, thick like treacle only much blacker. The chill in the air was unforgiving, and above them, the moon illuminated the bridge; the only light after the street lamps had dimmed. The bridge, though still taped off, was clear of cops, and Dean had no problem navigating the Impala through the weaving crime scene tape onto the mouth of the bridge. "So, this is where Constance took the swan dive?" Dean pondered as he got out of the car and leaned over the edge of the railing.
"Do you think Dad would have been here?" Sam asked.
"Well, he's chasing the same story and we're chasing him." Dean said as he took off walking again, Sam and Beatrice not far behind him.
"Okay, so now what?" Beatrice asked, wrapping her arms around herself tightly to try and keep herself warm. Dean noticed and tossed her his thick brown leather jacket, which she gratefully accepted and pulled around her dainty shoulders.
"Now, we keep digging until we find him. Might take a while." Dean shrugged. Sam sighed audibly, lingering back by the car even as Beatrice and Dean went on.
"Guys, I've told you. I've gotta be back by Monday." He told them. He appeared to do so casually, but his tone was unmistakably firm . Dean and Beatrice stopped dead in the middle of the bridge and both turned around to face him.
"Monday, right," Dean said, his own voice strained, "the interview."
"Yeah, I forgot. You're really serious about this, aren't you? You think you're just gonna become some lawyer? Marry your girl?"
"Maybe. Why not?"
"Does Jessica know the truth about you?” Dean challenged him. Beatrice flinched at his harsh tone, even though his words had not been aimed at her. “I mean, does she know about the things you've done?"
Sam narrowed his eyes in response. "No, and she's not ever going to know."
"Well, that's healthy. You can pretend all you want, Sammy, but sooner or later you're going to have to face up to who you are." Dean spat. He turned to continue walking. Sam stormed after him, past Beatrice. She briefly debated with chasing after them but instead she stayed by the railing, simply observing the fight; and readying herself to step in if it escalated. Dean had told her horror stories of past Winchester family feuds, and it was not something she wanted to find herself in the middle of.
"And who's that?" Sam shot back. His every word dripped with venom.
"You're one of us." Dean retorted seriously but Sam laughed nastily in his face.
"No, I'm not like you. This is not going to be my life."
"You have a responsibility-" Dean started angrily but Sam cut him off, just as furious.
"To Dad? And his crusade? If it weren't for pictures, I wouldn't even know what Mom looked like. Even if we do find the thing that killed her, Mom's gone. And she isn't coming back!"
Dean's features twisted with unimaginable rage at the mention of his mother. He grabbed the collar of Sam's jacket and slammed him into one of the bridge's tall steel pillars. "Don't talk about her like that." He warned.
Across from them, Beatrice cleared her throat loudly. "Uh... guys?"
They both turned to look at her. She was stood with their back to them, staring down the bridge. Dean released Sam and the two of them followed her gaze to see a ghostly woman, dressed in white lace, standing on the bridge's railing. She was a good few feet away but regardless, she observed them quietly, and with great interest. Beatrice could even swear she was smiling, if only a little.
"Well I'll be damned." Dean mumbled. He and Sam joined Beatrice, one of them on either side of her, and as they reached her, Constance took one final, long good look at them, before stepping off the railing into the mouth of the river below. The three of them rushed to the railing where she had been standing only moments before, but the waters below were clear, and there was no sign she'd even been there at all. Not even a ripple.
"Where did she go?" Dean demanded to no one in particular.
"I don't know," Beatrice answered, stunned. Behind them, the Impala's engine roared into life and the headlights flashed on, illuminating the dark bridge. "Dude, who's driving your car?" Beatrice asked. Dean shook his head, bewildered, and held up the keys from the pockets of his jeans.
The car raced forward suddenly at an alarming speed. Dean grabbed Sam and Beatrice as he sprinted past them towards the railing. The three of them reached the edge and, in a share moment of madness, launched themselves over the railing. Beatrice landed awkwardly on the ledge just below and lost her footing, almost slipping and falling into the river but Sam reached out with impressive speed and grabbed her wrist. "I gotcha," he assured her, hoisting her up to perch beside him.
"Thanks," she gasped, struggling to catch her breath. "Where's Dean?"
"Dean?" Sam called, panic rising to his face. "Dean!" That time, there was slightly more urgency in his voice, and Beatrice joined in, her heart hammering with anxiety. Below them, a filthy and panting figure crawled onto the riverbed.
"What?" The figure yelled. Dean. Beatrice breathed out in relief."Are you alright?" She called down. He shot her a look. "I'm super." He snapped back. Sam laughed, relieved, and pulled himself back onto the bridge before reaching down and helping Beatrice climb back up as well. They stayed there for a good ten minutes, watching with great amusement as Dean struggled to make it back up to the bridge, as he slipped repeatedly back down into the mud.
"The car okay?" Beatrice asked when he finally rejoined them.
"Yeah, whatever she did to it, seems okay now. This Constance chick, what a bitch!" He yelled.
"Well, she doesn't want us digging around, that's for sure." Beatrice said with a heavy sigh. "So where's the job go from here, genius?" She sat beside Dean on the hood of the car but turned her nose up in disgust and got to her feet again, moving as far away from him as she could. "You smell like a toilet." She said. Dean glared at her.
"We should check in a motel." Sam suggested, failing to suppress a laugh at their antics.
"Yeah, I second that." Dean grumbled. He moved to get into the driver's seat but Beatrice cleared her throat.
"Maybe I should drive.” She said.
Dean didn't look overly thrilled with the arrangement, but he relented and climbed into the back of Impala, letting Sam and Beatrice get into the front with Beatrice behind the wheel. The journey back to the motel was silent. Beatrice was worried that if she opened her mouth she would vomit due to the strength of the foul smell emitting from Dean in the back. After fifteen minutes of tense silence, she was almost thankful for the croaky, smoker's voice of the clerk behind the desk.
"One room, please." Dean yawned, handing the clerk a debit card.
"You guys having a reunion or something?" The clerk said as he scanned the card slowly under a 1999 issued machine. He either didn't notice the state Dean was in, or he didn't care.
"What do you mean?" Sam asked with a frown.
"I had another guy. Burt Aframian. He came and bought a room for the whole month."
"Yes! That's exactly what we're doing. A reunion." Beatrice interjected before either brother could answer for themselves. "Now, what was Burt's room number?"
After Sam finished picking the motel room lock, Beatrice pushed open the door and poked her head in through the crack, giving the room a quick once over before she actually went in, followed by the brothers. The room was utter chaos. Every vertical surface was decorated with old maps and missing persons reports, dating back decades, and all centred around Jericho. "Whoa," Beatrice muttered. As Dean flicked on the overhead light, Beatrice eyed a half eaten burger by the sofa and she picked it up, giving it a little sniff which she immediately regretted, and she found herself holding back vomit again. "I don't think he's been here for a couple of days at least," she concluded, dropping the burger into the trash.
Sam hummed in agreement. He dipped his finger into a small pile of decaying salt on the bedside table. "Salt, cats eye shells... he was worried, trying to keep something from coming in." He glanced across the room at Beatrice, who was intently reading a news clipping that had been pasted to the wall by the fridge. "What have you got there?" He asked her.
"Centennial highway victims." Beatrice told him without turning around. "I don't get it. I mean, different men, different jobs, ages, ethnicities..."
"There's always a connection, right?" Sam said, coming to stand beside her, "what do these guys have in common?" He turned away and flicked on the bedside lamp. "Huh. Dad figured it out."
Beatrice finally turned to him, her eyebrows raised. "What do you mean?"
"He found the same article we did," he explained, pointing to another of John's news clippings on the wall opposite to her, "Constance Welch, she's a woman in white."
Dean glanced over at the photos of Constance's victims and he chuckled under his breath. "You sly dogs. So, if we're dealing with a woman in white, Dad would have found the corpse and destroyed it."
"She might have another weakness?" Beatrice suggested.
Dean shrugged. "Dad would want to make sure. He'd dig her up. Does it say were she's buried?" He turned to Sam, who shook his head.
"No, not that I can tell. If I were Dad, though, I'd go ask her husband." He tapped the picture of Joseph Welch with his index finger.
"If he's still alive," Beatrice reminded them with a sigh.
"Alright. Why don't you, uh, see if you can find an address. I'm gonna go get cleaned up." Dean headed towards the bathroom, but Sam cleared his throat and he paused in the doorway, turning back to face him.
"Hey, Dean? What I said about Mom and Dad, I... I'm sorry." He started to say, but Dean held up his hand, stopping him.
"No chick flick moments." He said firmly. Sam laughed.
"Bitch." Dean grinned and, still smirking, disappeared into the bathroom.
The next morning, Beatrice left the bathroom after her quick shower to find Sam sitting on the edge of his bed, caught up in his own thoughts as he replayed a voicemail from Jess. "You should call her," Beatrice said conversationally as she towel dried the ends of her hair. Sam startled, having evidently not heard her come in.
"I'll be back by tonight," he said with a shake his head, dropping his phone back into his jacket pocket.
"You really love her, huh?"
“More than anything.” Sam affirmed with the ghost of a smile.
Beatrice opened her mouth to say something else, but was cut off as Dean came into the room from the parking lot. "Hey, guys. I'm starving," he yawned, "I'm gonna grab a little something to eat in that diner down the street. You want anything?"
"No." Beatrice and Sam said simultaneously, clearly haunted by the memory of the previous day's breakfast.
"I'll come with you, though," Beatrice offered. She threw on a dark sweater over her plain T-shirt, waved goodbye to Sam and followed Dean out towards the Impala. As she closed the room door behind her she saw Dean freeze, and beyond him, spotted the motel clerk talking to the two officers they had met the day before. She thought nothing of it, until the clerk pointed at the two of them. Dean cursed under his breath and slipped his phone out of his pocket to call Sam.
"Dude, five oh. Take off. Uh, they kinda spotted us. Go find Dad." He shut off the phone just in time as the deputies approached them. He glanced sideways at Beatrice and whispered, "Bea, get out of here."
Beatrice scoffed. "As if."
Dean smirked at her. Clearly he'd been more of a bad influence on her than he thought. He turned to the cops. "Problem, officers?"
"Where's your partner?" One of them asked.
"Partner? What partner?" Beatrice said innocently.
"Don't act so innocent, sweetheart. You're in just as much trouble as he is." The deputy warned her. He glanced at the motel and motioned for his partner to check it out. Beatrice inwardly cursed, silently praying that Sam got out in time.
"So, fake US Marshall. Fake credit cards. You got anything that's real?" The officer asked.
"My boobs." Dean said with a shit-eating grin. The officer rolled his eyes, grabbing Dean and cuffing him quickly, slamming him against the hood of the car. Beatrice attempted to take off in the opposite direction but he ambushed her from behind and threw her down beside Dean.
"You have the right to remain silent…”
"So, you want to give us your real names?" The sheriff circled Dean and Beatrice who were handcuffed together.
"I told you," Dean insisted wearily, "it's Nugent, Ted Nugent. This is my sister Kathy."
"I'm not sure you realise just how much trouble you're in, here."
"Are we talking like, misdemeanour kind of trouble, or, uh, squeal like a pig kind of trouble?" Beatrice smirked. The sheriff glared at her. "Listen here, Princess. You've got the faces of ten missing persons taped to your wall. Along with a whole lot of other Satanic mumbo jumbo. Kids, you are officially suspects."
"That makes sense," Dean responded sarcastically, rolling his eyes, "because when the first one went missing in '82, I was three and she wasn't even born."
"I know you've got partners. One of em's an older guy, and maybe he started the whole thing. So tell me, Dean," he tossed a brown leather book across the table, "this his?"
"It's my high school locker combo," Dean told him coolly, but Beatrice didn't miss the layer of sweat that had started to gleam on his brow.
"Oh really?" The sheriff scoffed, visibly unconvinced.
"Yes! I don't know how many times you want me to tell you!"
"We gonna do this all night long?"
Behind him, the door opened and one of the lower ranking deputies poked his head around the door. "We just got a 911, shots fired over Whiteford Road." He told the sheriff, who nodded in acknowledgement.
"You have to go to the bathroom?" He asked Dean and Beatrice.
"No." Dean answered for the both of them.
"Good." The sheriff circled around the table. He cuffed them to the table leg and then left, closing the door behind him.
"What's the plan?" Dean asked her. Beatrice hushed him.
She sat silently, waiting for a moment until she heard the station door down the corridor open and then slam shut again. When she was sure they wouldn't be interrupted, she reached across Dean, (who leaned back in his chair to avoid getting a faceful of breasts), and she slipped out a paperclip from between the pages of John's journal. She sunk back in her seat and used the paperclip to unpick the handcuffs, which clicked open after a moment. Beatrice winced as she rubbed her sore wrists but she grinned at Dean triumphantly nevertheless and got up out of the chair. "Alright, let's get out of here."
Apologies again for the late upload. I've been suffering a real mental health slump lately, and haven't had much motivation to do much at all. I'm trying to push through and keep uploading anyway, even though it is a little late. Thank you all again for being so patient, and I really hope you enjoy this chapter!
Beatrice and Dean crammed themselves awkwardly into a phone booth across the street from the station. Manoeuvring around Beatrice so he didn't accidentally elbow her in the face, Dean stabbed Sam's number into the dial pad and held the receiver up between the two of them so they could both join in on the conversation. "Fake 911 call?" Dean said with a smirk when his brother answered, "Sammy, I don't know, that's pretty illegal."
"You're welcome." Sam answered. Beatrice could hear the smile in his voice.
"Listen, we gotta talk." Dean said.
"Tell me about it. So the husband was unfaithful. We're dealing with a woman in white. And she's buried behind her old house, so that should be Dad's next stop."
"Sammy, would you just shut up for a second?" Dean tried again, but Sam either ignored him or didn't hear and went on.
"I just can't figure out why Dad hasn't destroyed the corpse yet."
"Well, that's what we’re trying to tell you," Beatrice said loudly over the top of him, "he's gone. John's left Jericho."
Sam was silent for a moment, before saying, "what? How do you know?"
“We have his journal, Sam.”
"He doesn't go anywhere without that thing."
"Yeah, well he did this time." Dean said with a heavy sigh.
"What's it say?" Sam asked.
"Ah, the same old ex marine crap. He wants to let us know where he's going." Dean explained.
"Coordinates," Sam concluded for himself, "where to?"
"We're not sure yet." Beatrice admitted. "I'm still trying to work it out."
"I don't understand, I mean, what could be so important that Dad would just skip out in the middle of a job? Dean, what the hell is going on?" Sam asked. Before Dean could reply, there was the sound of breaks squealing in the background, and then the phone thumping against the floor.
"Sam? Sam!" Dean cried. Before the line went dead, there was a single hiss; a woman's voice.
'Take me home.'
Dean stared at the phone for a moment before dropping it and taking off out of the phone booth at top speed. Beatrice cursed under her breath, having to sprint to catch up with him. "Dean!" She called. "Wait up!"
"She has my brother, Beatrice!"
"Oh for- Dean, listen, she can't kill him!"
"Why the hell not?"
"Because Sam isn't unfaithful!" She reminded him.
They reached Constance's house in good time. The Impala was parked on the driveway, and through the driver's seat window, Beatrice could just make out the shape of Sam pinned to the front seat, struggling to single-handedly fight the apparition holding him there. She rushed to the car, taking out a salt shotgun from the trunk which she threw to Dean, who shot thrice at the ghost until it disappeared. Sam sat up with a groan, rubbing his head.
"Are you okay?” Beatrice asked him urgently.
"Y-Yeah. I'm fine."
"Can you move?"
"Yeah, can... can you help me?" He looked pleadingly towards her. She opened the car door and grasped his wrists, pulling him out and to his feet while Dean rushed towards the house. Beatrice and Sam soon followed, though Sam was still a little uneasy on his feet.
When they burst into the house, they found Constance stood in the middle of the lounge, clutching a framed photograph of two small children, whom Beatrice could only assume were hers.
The spirit spotted them in the doorway and dropped the picture on the ground with such force that it smashed, the glass scattering across the floor. A desk flew across the room towards them, pinning the three of them to the adjacent wall. As they struggled to throw off the large piece of furniture, the lights upstairs flickered, and two children appeared on the staircase, water dripping from beneath their feet and puddling on the floor in front of Constance. "You came home to us, Mommy," they said in unison.
Constance stared at them, and though she didn't say anything, her features creased with visible grief. They disappeared from the stairs and reappeared behind her, embracing her tightly around the waist. There was a sudden burst of bright light, almost blinding. Constance screamed, agonised, and then the three of them disappeared as though they hadn't been there at all.
With the spirit gone, Dean finally managed to push the desk away, and the three of them staggered away from the wall, winded. "So this is where she drowned her kids," Beatrice concluded mournfully.
Sam nodded in agreement, staring at the puddle where Constance had been stood only moments before. "That's why she could never go home. She was too scared to face them."
"You found her weak spot. Nice work, Sammy." Dean praised him.
"Yeah. Wish I could say the same for you. What were you thinking, shooting Caspar in the face?" Sam asked, though he did little to conceal the grin playing on his lips.
"Hey, saved your ass," Dean reminded him. The three of them bundled back into the Impala, Beatrice in the back and the two brothers in the front. Dean turned on the radio to 'Highway to Hell' and he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel to the drum beat of the song. "I'll tell you another thing, if you screwed up my car, I'll kill you."
The Impala tore down the road away from the house. Sam flicked through the journal, opening it to the page where John had hastily scribbled the coordinates. A flashlight balanced between his ear and his shoulder, he used a ruler to find the location on a map. "Okay, so here's where Dad went," he said, "it's called Blackwater Ridge, Colorado."
Dean nodded. "Sounds charming. How far?"
"About six hundred miles."
"Hey, if we shag ass we could make it by morning." Dean grinned at Sam.
Sam shifted uneasily in his seat, deliberately avoiding his brother's gaze. "Dean, I, um..."
"You're not going." Beatrice said from the back. It wasn't a question.
"The interview's in like... ten hours. I gotta be there." Sam admitted. Dean nodded.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Looks like it's just you and me, then, "he muttered, flashing Beatrice a sad smile in the wing mirror, then he turned back to Sam. "I'll take you home."
They pulled up some time later outside Sam's apartment block. He got out, but hesitated, leaning against the open door. "Call me if you find him?" He said. Dean nodded. "And I can maybe meet up with you later, huh?" He added, somewhat hopefully. There was an air of nostalgia to his voice, as though he had secretly missed the time with his brother, (though perhaps not the peril and constant bickering that came with it).
"Yeah, alright." Dean mumbled, avoiding his brother's gaze. Seeing him go would simply be too painful. Beatrice got out of the car to swap into the front seat and as she passed Sam, she pulled him into a tight hug.
"You take care of yourself, okay? And take care of Jess, too" She said with a small smile.
"I will. Bye, Bea." He waved once, and then disappeared into the block. Beatrice slid in shotgun and she smiled encouragingly at Dean, a smile he returned weakly as he woke up the engine. She reached across to squeeze his hand, but froze halfway there, her face falling drastically. Dean stared at her, bewildered.
"Beatrice? What's wrong?" He asked.
"Something isn't right."
"You're just going to have to trust me on this." She insisted urgently. She got out of the Impala reaching speeds Dean didn't know she was capable of, and she sprinted into the apartment block towards Sam's home, leaving Dean no choice but to follow.
She reached his front door and went in without knocking. She was immediately met with a faceful of black smoke, which billowed out from underneath the bedroom door into the living area and her eyes watered. "Dean!" She cried.
Dean pushed past her, kicking open the bedroom door. The space in front of Beatrice was flooded with almost unbearable levels of heat from the fire that was raging around Sam. Beatrice choked on the thick smoke, but she pushed through the cloud into the bedroom. The room was slowly being eaten by flames, centring around the ceiling, and in the midst of all the carnage, Jess was pinned to the ceiling. Her stomach had been slashed, but Beatrice was sure it was the fire that had killed her.
Sam was laid back on his elbows on the bed, staring up at his murdered girlfriend in abject horror. His screams were absolutely haunting as he called out her name repeatedly, a demented chant he prayed would startle her back to life.
"O-Oh my God," Beatrice stammered from the doorway.
"Sam!" Dean yelled. He rushed past Beatrice, grabbing Sam's arm and attempting to pull him off the bed.
Sam struggled violently, trying to throw his brother off. "Jess!"
"Beatrice, help me!" Dean yelled over Sam's cries and the roar of the fire. His cry was enough to snap her out of her horrified trance and she grasped Sam's other arm, helping Dean pull him back towards the door and away from the woman he loved.
"No, Jess! Jess!" Sam howled, but he admitted defeat and as the fight left him, he allowed Dean and Beatrice to forcefully remove him from the room. Beatrice slammed the door hard behind them, and inside, the room was completely engulfed with flames. "No!" Sam screamed. He rushed for the door again but the handle scorched his palm and he had no choice but to jerk back.
Dean grabbed Sam around the waist and pulled him towards the window and as Beatrice followed closely behind, she couldn't help but think about how Sam should have called Jess when he had the chance.
Chapter 6: Wendigo
"This song is terrible."
It had been the first time Beatrice had spoken for the entire journey. Dean startled at the sudden sound of her voice, and then he scowled at her in the rear view mirror. "What do you have against Foreigner?" He asked her defensively.
"Everything, Dean! Everything!"
Dean chuckled and turned the radio up to infuriate her, but in doing so, only awoke his brother in the passenger seat. Sam startled upright, so violently he almost smacked his head on the ceiling. "You okay, Sam?" Beatrice asked him, leaning forward in her seat.
"Yeah, fine," Sam assured her, though he didn't sound fine at all. Quite the opposite, if anything.
"Another nightmare?" Dean pressed, taking his eyes off the road just for a second. Sam cleared his throat in response and attempted to laugh but the sound got lost somewhere within his throat and just came out sort of... choked, almost like he was crying instead. Dean seemed to consider this reaction for a moment, and then asked, "do you want to drive for a while?"
That time, Sam did manage to laugh, though it did sound a little bitter. "Dean, your whole life you never once asked me that."
"Just thought you might want to," Dean shrugged, "never mind."
"Look, guys..." Sam sighed heavily, "I know you're worried about me. I get it. And... thank you, but I'm perfectly okay!" He looked between the two of them and noticed neither of them looked convinced, but regardless, neither of them challenged him. "Alright, where are we?"
Beatrice picked up the map from the seat beside her and held it up to show him. "Just outside of Grand Junction."
Sam hummed in response. He was quiet for a moment, and then said, "you know what? Maybe we shouldn't have left Stanford so soon."
It was then Dean's turn to sigh. "Sam... we dug around there for a week. We came up with nothing! If you want to find the thing that killed Jessica-"
"-we gotta find Dad first," Sam finished glumly.
"If you ask me, John disappearing and this thing showing up again after twenty years, it's no coincidence," Beatrice said, before assuring Sam, "John will have answers. He'll know what to do."
"It's weird," Sam said, taking the map from Beatrice, "these coordinates he left us, this 'Blackwater Ridge'..."
"What about it?" Dean asked.
"There's nothing there. It's just woods. Why's he sending us to the middle of nowhere?"
Dean shrugged mutely in response and pulled up outside a small ranger station by the side of the road, nearing the edge of the dense forest. Beatrice looked wearily up at the trees through the window. "Scared?" Dean teased her. Beatrice scowled at him. "Yeah," she responded, unashamed, "aren't you? I mean, we of all people know what's out there, Dean."
"Yeah, alright, good point," he chuckled and got out of the car. Beatrice met Sam's eye in the rear view mirror and they exchanged an awkward smile, before they too got out of the Impala and followed Dean up to the station.
"So, Blackwater Ridge is pretty remote," Sam told them, eyeing a 3D map by the side of the station, "it's cut off by these canyons here. Rough terrain, dense forest, abandoned silver and gold mines all over the place..."
"Dude, check out the size of this freakin' bear," Dean said instead, distracted by a framed photograph of a ranger with a stuffed Grizzly Bear, which was almost twice the man's size.
"...and a dozen more grizzlies in the area," Sam concluded, "it's no nature hike, that's for sure."
"You kids aren't planning on going out near Blackwater Ridge by any chance?" A voice said behind them. The trio turned to see a ranger, eyeing them suspiciously.
Beatrice flashed him her most charming smile. "Oh, no sir. We're environmental study majors from UC Boulder, just working on a paper."
"Recycle, man," Dean added helpfully. Beatrice shot him a look.
"Bull," the ranger scoffed. The charming smile fell from Beatrice's face, "you're friends with that Haley girl, right?"
"Yes, yes we are, Ranger..." Dean trailed off to read the name tag on the ranger's jacket, "Wilkinson."
"Well, I will tell you exactly what we told her. Her brother filled out a backcountry permit saying he wouldn't be back from Blackwater until the twenty fourth, so it's not exactly a missing persons now, is it? You tell that girl to quit worrying; I'm sure her brother's just fine."
"We will," Beatrice assured him, "well, that Haley girl's quite a pistol, huh?"
"That is putting it mildly."
"Actually, you know what would help?" Dean cut in, "if we could show her a copy of that backcountry permit. You know, so she could see her brother's return date."
For a moment, the ranger still didn't look convinced, but then he disappeared into the station, coming out a moment later with a copy of the permit for them. "Thank you, sir," Sam said warmly. The ranger grunted in response and headed back inside, closing the door behind him. "What, are you cruising for a hookup or something?" Sam asked his brother once the ranger was out of ear shot.
"What do you mean?" Dean asked.
"The coordinates point to Blackwater Ridge, so what are we waiting for? Let's just go find Dad. I mean, why even talk to this girl?"
"Maybe we should know what we're walking into before we actually walk into it," Beatrice suggested as she opened her car door.
Neither brother had a clever retort for her. As they too got into the car, Dean chuckled, and Sam shot him a look. "What?" He asked, just as defensive as Dean had been when Beatrice had insulted Foreigner.
"Since when are you all shoot first, ask questions later?" Dean responded
Sam shrugged. "Since now."
Dean chuckled at that. The three of them got back into the Impala and Dean took off down the road, heading towards the address the ranger had given them. It was a short drive, but by the time they arrived, Beatrice was feeling particularly nauseous due to Dean's wayward driving. "You suck," she reprimanded him queasily as she got out of the car and made her way up the front porch towards the house.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Not my fault you can't handle my driving."
"Well, maybe you should drive better, Dean!"
"She's not wrong," Sam laughed, "you do take the bends a little harsh."
Dean shot his brother a glare. They reached the door of the house and Dean rapped his knuckles loudly against the frosted glass in the middle. After a moment, a young, pretty girl opened the door and peered around at them. "Yeah?"
"You must be Haley Collins," Dean greeted her with a smile, "I'm Dean, and this is Sam, and Bea. We're ah... we're rangers with the Park Service. Ranger Wilkinson sent us over. He wanted us to ask a few questions about your brother, Tommy."
Haley seemed to visibly hesitate. "Lemme see some ID."
The smile not dropping from his face, Dean reached into his inside jacket pocket and flashed her one of his many fake IDs. Haley looked at it, then back up at the three of them, and then she stepped aside and opened the door a little wider. "Come on in," she said.
"Thanks," Dean beamed.
"That yours?" She asked, looking past the trio at the Impala, still parked on the street.
"Yeah." Dean nodded.
Dean grinned as he went into the entryway, followed closely by Sam and Beatrice who both smiled warmly at Haley as they entered. It was a quaint little house, the sort of place Beatrice could have seen herself living, had her circumstances been at all different. "So, if Tommy's not due back for a while, how do you know something's wrong?" Beatrice asked Haley as she led them into the kitchen, where another young boy was sitting at the table, typing furiously at a laptop. He barely acknowledged them as they went in.
"He checks in every day by cell," Haley explained, "he emails, photos, stupid little videos... we haven't heard anything in over three days now."
"Well, maybe he can't get cell reception," Sam suggested, but Haley shook her head.
"He's got a satellite phone too."
"Could it be he's just having fun and forgot to check in?" Beatrice offered, though even she wasn't convinced.
"He wouldn't do that," the boy at the table said fiercely. Beatrice eyed him carefully but he looked quickly back at his laptop screen, deliberately avoiding her gaze.
"Ben," Haley said, almost in a warning tone. Her expression softened as she turned back to the others. "Our parents are gone," she elaborated for them, "it's just my two brothers and me. We all keep pretty close tabs on each other."
"Can I see the pictures he sent you?" Sam asked.
Haley nodded. She glanced across the table at Ben, who sighed in an indignant sort of fashion, but he slid his laptop across to her. She hummed under her breath in concentration as she pulled up the appropriate files, and then she turned the screen around to show the three hunters. There was a boy grinning at them from the thumbnail of the video she had found. "That's Tommy," she told them, clicking play.
'Hey Haley! Day six, we're still out near Blackwater Ridge. We're fine, keeping safe, so don't worry, okay? Talk to you tomorrow!'
The video came to an end and the screen went black. "Well, we'll find your brother," Dean assured the two siblings, "we're heading out to Blackwater Ridge first thing."
"Then maybe I'll see you there," Haley told them with a shrug, "look, I can't sit around here anymore. So... I hired a guy. I'm heading out in the morning, and I'm gonna find Tommy myself."
Dean smiled at her, but it was strained and didn't quite meet his eye. "I think I know how you feel."
"So, Blackwater Ridge doesn't get a lot of traffic," Beatrice told them, struggling to be heard over the buzz of bar chatter. Just across from their booth, a young man cheered loudly, vocalising his victory as he emerged triumphant in a small game of pool. Beatrice sighed, leaning forward across the booth, closer to Sam and Dean so she didn't have to shout. "It's local campers, mostly. But still, this past April, two hikers went missing out there. They were never found."
"Any before that?" Dean asked, watching Beatrice take John's journal out of her bag.
She nodded. She flicked through the journal and then turned it around to show him and Sam the page she had found, "yeah, in 1982, eight different people all vanished in the same year. Authorities said it was a grizzly attack. And again in 1959, and again before that in 1936. Every twenty three years, just like clockwork."
Sam hummed in acknowledgement as he pulled out his laptop from his own bag, which he placed on the table. When he opened the lid, the computer was already open to a copy of Tommy's video that Haley had forwarded to him. "Okay, watch this. Here's a clincher. I downloaded that guy Tommy's video to the laptop. Check this out."
He played the video for them, frame by frame. Behind Tommy, a dark shadow passed through the trees. "Do it again," Dean said, and Sam obliged, replaying the same few frames again.
"That's three frames," he told them, "that's a fraction of a second. Whatever that thing is, it can move."
"Told you something was going on!" Dean grinned, a little too excited that they had managed to catch a case.
"Yeah," Sam said, with a playful roll of his eyes.
"I got one more thing," Beatrice told them, flicking to a new page in the journal, "in fifty nine, one camper survived this supposed grizzly attack. Just a kid. Barely crawled out of the woods alive."
Dean glanced over at the article she had found. "Is there a name?"
The Impala pulled up outside the run down house. It wasn't too far from the bar, but they had driven anyway. "It doesn't even look like anyone lives here," Beatrice told the brothers in a hushed voice as they got out of the car, but then she spotted an elderly man sitting on the porch, smoking heavily. "Okay, I stand corrected."
"Mr Shaw?" Sam called. The man looked up. He dropped his cigarette deliberately into an ash tray, but then lit up another one before responding.
"Yeah, who's askin?" He said warily, his voice hoarse from years of smoking.
"My name is Sam," he told him, approaching the porch witch Dean and Beatrice lingering behind him, "these are my partners, Dean and Beatrice. We're rangers from up near Blackwater. We wanted to talk to you about... about the night your parents died."
Mr Shaw scoffed. He exhaled a mouthful of smoke, and then said, "look, Ranger, I don't know why you're asking me about this. It's public record. I was a kid. My parents got mauled by a-"
"A Grizzly?" Beatrice interrupted. "That's what attacked them?"
"That's right," Mr Shaw responded, but he didn't appear overly sincere. He held out a cigarette towards Beatrice but she shook her head.
"The other people that went missing that year, were those bear attacks too?" She pressed. Mr Shaw didn't answer. He eyed her uneasily, unsure of where exactly she was going with her point. "What about all the people that went missing this year? Same thing? Listen, if we knew what we were dealing with, we might be able to stop it."
Mr Shaw scoffed. "I seriously doubt that. Anyways, I don't see what difference it would make. You wouldn't believe me. Nobody ever did."
"Mr Shaw, what did you see?" Sam asked gently.
Mr Shaw hesitated again. He looked between the three of them, then sighed in defeat and put out his cigarette on the railing that separated them from his porch. "Nothing," he told them, "it moved too fast to see. It hid too well. I heard it, though. Its roar. Like... no man or animal I ever heard."
"It came at night?"
"It got inside our cabin. I was sleeping in front of the fireplace when it came in. It didn't smash a window or break the door. It unlocked it. Do you know of a bear that could do something like that? I didn't even wake up until I hear my parents screaming."
"It killed them?"
Mr Shaw sighed again. He lit up a third cigarette. "Dragged them off into the night. Why it left me alive... been asking myself that ever since. It did leave me this, though." He paused to roll up his T-shirt sleeve to reveal three long scars across his shoulder. It looked as though something had clawed him, and violently at that. "There's something evil in those woods. It was some sort of a demon."
"Thank you for your time, Mr Shaw. We'll let you get back to your evening." Beatrice told him sincerely. He grunted in response and relaxed back in his deck chair, signifying the conversation was indeed over.
"Spirits and demons don't have to unlock doors," Dean whispered as they headed back towards the Impala, "if they want inside, they just... go through the walls."
"So it's probably something else, something corporeal," Beatrice shrugged.
Dean scoffed. "Corporeal? Excuse me, Professor."
"Shut up," Beatrice snapped, "so, what do you think?"
"The claws, the speed that it moves... could be a Skinwalker, maybe a black dog. Whatever we're talking about, we're talking about a creature, and it's corporeal. Which means we can kill it."
"We cannot let that Haley girl go out there," Sam said firmly, getting into the passenger side of the car.
"Oh, yeah? What are we gonna tell her? That she can't go into the woods because of a big scary monster?" Dean scoffed, but Sam looked at him completely seriously and nodded. Dean rolled his eyes. "Her brother's missing, Sam. She's not gonna just sit this out. Now, we go with her, we protect her, and we keep our eyes peeled for our fuzzy predator friend."
"Finding Dad's not enough? Now we gotta babysit too?" Sam snapped. That time, it was Dean's turn to stare at his brother. Sam scowled at him. "What?"
"Nothing," Dean said innocently, holding up his hands.
He pulled off the side of the road where he had parked and took off back towards their motel. As they arrived, Dean turned in his seat to toss Beatrice the keys to their room. "I'm gonna take off and pick up some food, you guys want anything?"
Sam grimaced at the thought. "I'm good."
"Yeah, me too," Beatrice said, "I'd like to get through this case without food poisoning."
"Alright, suit yourselves," Dean shrugged.
Sam and Beatrice got out of the car and made their way silently through the motel corridors to their room. It was small, and barely habitable for the three of them, but Beatrice told herself as she collapsed onto the sofa that it was only for one night. "Hey, Bea, can I ask you something?" Sam said as he lingered by the fridge, helping himself to one of the pre-stocked beers.
"Oh, sure. Go for it," Beatrice said, a little awkwardly. She was admittedly not yet used to being around Sam without Dean there too.
"How did you get involved with Dean and Dad?" He asked, handing her a beer as well.
Beatrice laughed nostalgically at the memory, but there was a hint of sadness there too. “When I was sixteen, I took off from my Mom,” she explained, “I wanted to hunt independently and, for a while, things were going well. But then there was this one hunt. It should have been a standard salt and burn, you know? But the spirit got the upper hand. I thought I was going to die, but John and Dean were hunting the same spirit. They saved me. John thought I’d end up dead if I stayed on my own, so he took me under his wing.”
“Huh,” Sam said. He took a sip of his drink before asking, “did they ever mention me?”
Beatrice wrinkled her nose. “John never did,” she told him, “Dean would, sometimes. When he was drunk. But he never mentioned it the next morning and neither did I.”
Sam hummed thoughtfully in response. Beatrice wanted to ask what had actually happened between him and his family, but she wasn't sure it was the right time to do so. Regardless, Beatrice had seen the way John Winchester treated Dean; like he was a soldier rather than his son, someone submissive to his every order and command. She wondered if he'd done the same to Sam.
"We should get some sleep," she said after a moment. "Long day tomorrow."
"Mhm," Sam agreed. "I don't mind taking the sofa. You and Dean can have the beds."
"Thanks, Sam," she said genuinely. She drained her bottle of beer and then padded across the room to the pair of twin beds. She flopped atop hers, without bothering to change out of her clothes. "G'night, Sam," she mumbled into her pillow.
Dean pulled up in the parking lot just on the edge of the forest. Despite the light of the sun overhead, the space inside the forest was as dark as night, almost as though it existed in an entirely different timeline. Haley and Ben were stood at the mouth of the woods, chatting with another man, though Beatrice could not make out what they were saying.
"You guys got room for one more?" She called over to them as they got out of the car.
"Wait, you want to come with us?" Haley asked, stunned.
"Who are these guys?" The man she was with asked her.
"Apparently this is all the park service could muster up for the search and rescue."
"You're rangers?" The man asked them incredulously.
"That's right," Dean confirmed.
"And you're hiking out in biker boots and jeans?" Haley scoffed.
"Well, Sweetheart. I don't do shorts."
"What, you think this is funny?" The man snapped. Beatrice glanced over at Dean and saw him suppress the urge to roll his eyes. "It's dangerous back country out there. Her brother might be hurt."
"Believe me, we know how dangerous it can be," Beatrice said quickly before Dean got them into anymore trouble, "we just want to help them find their brother, that's all."
"It's alright, Roy," Haley said softly, "they can come. They can help us."
Roy still didn't look impressed but when he took off into the woods, he allowed the trio, accompanied by Haley and Ben, to follow. "It's gonna be dangerous out here," Roy told them over his shoulder, "there's all sorts in these woods. Lucky for you, I hunt."
Beatrice bit her lip to stifle a laugh. "Oh yeah?" She said, acting impressed, "what kind of furry critters do you hunt, Roy?"
"Oh, mostly Buck. Sometimes bear."
Dean scoffed at his response. He stepped ahead in front of Roy, turning back to face him as he spoke. "Tell me, Bambi or Yogi ever hunt you back?" He teased. Roy rolled his eyes but then grabbed Dean's arm, pulling him out of the lead. Dean's face fell. "Watcha doing, Roy?"
"You should watch where you're stepping, Ranger," Roy told him coolly. He picked up a stick from the ground and dropped it in the spot Dean was about to step into. The unforgiving jaws of a bear trap snapped closed around the stick, severing it into two equal parts. Dean stared down at the stick, then at his ankle, and realised it could well have been his leg in the trap. He shuddered at the thought.
As they moved to follow after Roy again, Haley grabbed Dean's arm, pulling him back. While Ben and Roy failed to notice and continued hiking up the hill, Sam and Beatrice stopped. Dean glanced over at them and nodded once, a clear indication to go on.
Beatrice hesitated but ultimately obeyed, taking off up the hill after the others. "What do you think that was about?" Sam asked her.
She shrugged. "It's Dean. He's probably using this opportunity to get her number."
Sam chuckled at her response. "You two are pretty close, huh?"
"Oh, yeah," she nodded, "Dean's like... my partner in crime. I'd be lost without him."
"N'aww, that's very sweet, Beatrice," a voice teased her from behind. She glanced over her shoulder to see Dean and Haley trekking up the hill, just in time to catch the tail end of her conversation with Sam.
"Shut up," she scowled, her usually olive toned cheeks flushing red.
Dean grinned at her and ruffled her hair, but she couldn't bring herself to be truly irritated with him. "This is it," Roy said up ahead, oblivious to the conversations going on behind him, "Blackwater Ridge."
"What coordinates are we at?" Sam asked, heading past Roy to look out at the Ridge.
Roy paused to pull out a GPS. "Thirty five and minus one eleven."
"You hear that?" Dean asked Beatrice quietly. She shook her head. "Exactly. Nothing. Not even crickets."
"I'm gonna go take a look around." Roy told them.
Beatrice shook her head, attempting to grab his wrist as he passed her. "You shouldn't go off by yourself."
"That's sweet," Roy scoffed, "don't worry about me."
He brushed her hand off and shouldered past Sam and Dean, retaking the lead into the forest that led on from the Ridge. Dean sighed heavily, turning to Ben and Haley, "alright, everybody stays together. Let's go."
"Hey, over here!" Roy yelled from somewhere within the trees. The group exchanged a worried glance, and then sprinted through the underbrush to the small clearing where he was standing among the ruins of an abandoned campsite.
"Oh my god," Beatrice gasped.
The scene was utter chaos. There had been three tents, once upon a time, but now they were torn open and bloodied, and the supplies that had once been inside were scattered among the ground. "Looks like a grizzly," Roy concluded.
"Tommy..." Haley stammered. She threw off her backpack and stumbled into the clearing. "Tommy? Tommy!"
"Shh!" Sam said hurriedly, grabbing her arm as she made to rummage through the tents.
"Why?" She asked.
"Something might still be out there."
"Guys?" Beatrice said to their left. Sam and Dean jogged over to her, and she pointed to the fresh-ish tracks she had found embedded in the damp mud. "The bodies were dragged from the campsite, but here, the tracks just vanish. That's weird. I'll tell you what, that's no Skinwalker or black dog."
Dean hummed in agreement. Behind them, Haley let out a small sob as she found her brother's phone among the carnage. It was half broken, and the screen was smeared with blood. "Hey, he could still be alive!" Dean tried to reassure her but she didn't look convinced.
The cry came from somewhere deep within the trees. Roy took off first towards the sound, leaving the others to follow quickly in his wake. "Help, somebody!" Whoever was shouting sounded desperate, terrified even.
"It seemed like it was coming from around here, didn't it?" Haley said breathlessly as they slowed to a stop, only to find the woods empty.
Beatrice looked back uneasily at the direction from which they had just come. "Yeah. Okay, everyone back to camp."
"Don't you think-" Roy started, but Beatrice quickly cut him off.
"Oh, it wasn't a question," she said firmly. He stared at her for a moment, but the fierceness in her eyes put him off arguing, and the group trudged through the mud back to the camp. All the bags and supplies they had left among the clearing were gone. All they had was Dean's duffel bag, which was still slung around his shoulders.
"Our packs!" Haley gasped.
"So much for my GPS and my satellite phone," Roy grumbled.
"What the hell is going on?"
"It's smart. It wants to cut us off so we can't call for help," Sam told them with a sigh.
Roy eyed him suspiciously. "You mean someone. Some nutjob out there just stole all our gear!"
Sam ignored him, instead turning to Dean and Beatrice. "I need to speak with you both. In private." He said softly. The three of them stepped towards the edge of the clearing, out of earshot of the others. "Alright, let me see Dad's journal."
Dean dug in his bag for the journal which he handed to Sam upon finding it. Sam was silent for a second as he flicked through the book, but then he settled on a particular page and stabbed at it with his index finger. "Alright, check it out."
"Oh, come on," Beatrice scoffed, "Wendigos are in the Minnesota woods, or... or northern Michigan. I've never even heard of one this far west."
"Think about it, Bea," Sam countered, "the claws, the way it can mimic a human voice..."
"Oh, great," Beatrice sighed heavily, taking the pistol out of the back of her jeans, "well, then this is useless.""We've got to get these people to safety," Sam concluded, watching Dean slip his father's journal back into the bag. Both he and Beatrice hummed in agreement and they made their way back towards the tents were Haley, Roy and Ben were waiting patiently for them. "Alright, listen up," Sam announced, "it's time to go. Things have gotten... more complicated."
"What?" Haley said, stunned.
"Kid, don't worry," Roy tried to assure him, "whatever's out there, I think I can handle it."
"It's not us we're worried about," Beatrice told them firmly, "if you shoot this thing, you're just going to make it mad. We have to leave. Now."
"One, you're talking nonsense," Roy said, the ghost of a smirk playing on his lips which only irritated Beatrice further but she stood her ground, "two, you're in no position to give anybody orders."
"We never should have let you come out here in the first place, alright?" Sam cut in, coming to stand by Beatrice, "we're trying to protect you."
"You protect me?" Roy laughed nastily. He stepped up close to Beatrice and Sam, getting right in their personal space. "I was hunting these woods when your mommy was still kissing you goodnight."
"Yeah? It's a damn near perfect hunter. It's smarter than you, and it's gonna hunt you down and eat you alive unless we get your stupid, sorry ass out of here."
"You know you're crazy, right?"
"Yeah? You ever hunt a wen-"
"That's enough!" Dean cut in, grabbing his brother's arm with one hand and Beatrice's with the other. "Chill out."
"Stop. Stop it!" Haley exploded. "Everybody just stop. Look, Tommy might still be alive. And I'm not leaving here without him!"
Dean sighed heavily. "It's getting late. This thing is a good hunter in the day, but an unbelievable hunter at night. We'll never beat it, not in the dark. We need to settle in and protect ourselves."
Beatrice smiled weakly. "Oh, we have a trick or two up our sleeves."
I just wanted to thank you all so much for the support and Kudos left on this work. This series is very very dear to me, and I've been really enjoying rewriting it for myself, but it all feels worth it when I see what a positive reception its been receiving, so thank you again, and please enjoy the chapter!
Beatrice and Sam watched from the edge of the campsite as Dean finished drawing a protective symbol in the mud with a stick. "So, one more time," Haley said softly as she poked at the fire she had built, "that's..."
"Anasazi symbols," Dean explained patiently, "it's for protection. The Wendigo can't cross over them."
Across the fire from Dean and Haley, Roy laughed. His grip tightened on his gun. "Nobody likes a sceptic, Roy." Beatrice told him pointedly, but he just rolled his eyes and ignored her.
Dean chuckled. He got up from his finished drawings of the symbol and crossed the campsite to stand with Sam and Beatrice. "So, you wanna tell me what's going on in that freaky head of yours?" He asked Sam, who sighed.
"No, you're not fine. You're like a powder keg, man. It's not like you. I'm supposed to be the belligerent one, remember?"
"Dad's not here," Sam said uncomfortably after a moment, "I mean, that much we know for sure, right? He would have left us a message, a... a sign. Right?"
"Yeah, you're probably right," Dean agreed, "tell you the truth, I don't think Dad's ever been to lost creek."
"Then let's get these people back to town and let's hit the road! Go find Dad. I mean, why are we still even here?"
"This is why," Beatrice cut in. She reached into Dean's bag and pulled out the journal.
Dean nodded in agreement with Beatrice. "That book is Dad's single most valuable possession. Everything he knows about every evil thing is in here. And he's passed it on to us. I think he wants us to pick up where he left off. You know, saving people. Hunting things. The family business."
"That makes no sense!" Sam sighed, "why doesn't he just... call us? Why doesn't he... tell us what he wants, tell us where he is?"
"I don't know," Dean admitted, "but the way I see it, Dad's giving us a job to do, and I intend to do it."
"Dean... no. I gotta find Dad. I gotta find Jessica's killer. It's the only thing I can think about!"
"Alright, Sam," Dean said, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder, "we'll find them. I promise. Listen to me; you've got to prepare yourself. I mean, this search could take a while, and all that anger... you can't keep it burning over the long haul. It's gonna kill you. You gotta have patience, Sam."
"How do you both do it?" Sam asked them quietly, "how does Dad do it?"
Beatrice glanced over at Ben and Haley. "Well, for one... them."
"I figure our family's so screwed to Hell, maybe we can help some others. Makes things a little more bearable," Dean told him, "I'll tell you what else helps; killing as many evil sons of bitches as I possibly can."
"Help me!" A voice screamed somewhere among the trees. "Please! Help!"
"He's trying to draw us out," Beatrice said to the others, reaching for her gun though she knew using it would be fruitless, "just stay cool. Stay put."
"Inside the magic circle?" Roy taunted her but she tried her best to ignore him.
"Help! Help me!" The Wendigo cried again, followed by a deep growl that penetrated through the cool night air.
"Okay, that's no grizzly," Roy concluded. He turned and aimed his gun at the direction the sound had come from. Something rushed past the camp, rustling in the undergrowth and Roy opened fire. One of his bullets hit something solid and his face lit up with triumph. "I hit it!"
"Roy," Dean said in a warning tone but he had already abandoned the protective circle and disappeared into the forest. "Roy!"
"It's over here! It's in the tree!" Roy called. There was a pause, then a scream; and finally, silence.
"Shit," Beatrice cursed.
"I don't... I mean, these types of things, they aren't supposed to be real." Haley said shakily.
"I wish I could tell you different," Dean shrugged.
"How do we know it's not out there watching us?"
"We don't," Beatrice told her, "but we're safe for now."
"How do you know about this stuff?"
Dean looked thoughtfully between Sam and Beatrice. "Kind of runs in the family," he said after a moment.
"Hey," Sam said, coming over to them from the tree stump he had been sitting on as he thumbed through John's journal, "so we've got half a chance in the daylight. And I for one want to kill this evil son of a bitch."
"Well, hell, you know we're in," Dean said, flashing a grin at Beatrice which she returned.
"Wendigo is a Cree Indian word," Sam told Ben and Haley, showing them the Wendigo themed page from John's journal, "it means 'evil that devours'."
"They're hundreds of years old," Beatrice elaborated, coming to sit on a log by the fire, "each one was once a man. Sometimes an Indian, or other times a frontiersman, or a miner or a hunter."
"How's a man turn into one of those things?" Haley asked.
"Well, it's always the same," Dean explained, "during some harsh winter, a guy finds himself starving, cut off from supplies or help... becomes a cannibal to survive, eating other members of his tribe or camp."
"Like the Donner Party," Ben said.
Sam hummed in agreement. "Cultures all over the world believe that eating human flesh gives a person certain abilities. Speed, strength, immortality..."
"If you eat enough of it, over years, you become this less than human thing," Beatrice concluded, "you're always hungry."
"So if that's true, how can Tommy still be alive?" Haley asked.
Beatrice sighed. "You're not going to like it."
"More than anything, a Wendigo knows how to last long winters without food. It hibernates for years at a time, but when it's awake it keeps its victims alive. It, uh, it stores them, so it can feed whenever it wants. If your brother's alive, it's keeping him somewhere dark, hidden, and safe. We gotta track it back there."
"And then how do we stop it?"
"Well, guns are useless. So are knives," Dean told her. He had been spending the last few moments assembling a basic Molotov cocktail like weapon, which he held up to show them, "basically, we gotta torch the sucker."
"We should find it," Beatrice said bravely as Dean passed her the supplies to make her own Molotov, "we're just sitting ducks out here, waiting. It could be anywhere and we're just... sitting here."
"No, you're right," Dean agreed, to her surprise.
"Looks like it's even left us a trail," Beatrice mused as she made her way to the edge of the circle to observe the forest around them, and the prints that had been left almost deliberately in the damp mud.
Sam and Dean both hummed in agreement. The three of them ensured they were armed with the makeshift Molotovs, and then started to lead Ben and Haley through the dense undergrowth. "You know, I was thinking," Sam said in a hushed voice to Dean and Beatrice, "those claw prints, so clear and distinct. They were almost too easy to follow."
As though the creature had been listening, there was a deep growl behind them. Beatrice whipped around, clutching her Molotov tightly to her chest, but the clearing behind them was still empty. On her other side, there was a female shriek, and she turned to see Roy's corpse sprawled awkwardly on the ground in front of Haley.
"You okay?" Sam asked her. Haley nodded shakily.
"His neck's broken," Dean said gravely, crouching down by the corpse.
"Jesus," Beatrice mumbled, doing her best to avoid Roy's lifeless gaze. He seemed to peer right through her.
The Wendigo growled again, somewhere unseen among the trees. "Okay," Dean said carefully, starting to back up towards the others, "run. Run!"
The group took off into the forest. As they reached a small, rocky area, Ben stumbled and fell back, and Sam and Beatrice rushed back to help him, while Dean and Haley carried on into the thicket. "Come on, I gotcha. I gotcha," Sam assured him.
They started in the direction after Dean and Haley, but somewhere up ahead, there was another scream. "Haley!" Ben cried, sprinting in the direction the scream had come from.
"Sam," Beatrice said gravely as she slowed to a stop. Dean's Molotov was in the middle of the floor, smashed in two.
"Oh, Jesus," Sam muttered. He reached down and picked it up. "Dean? Dean!"
"I don't get it," Ben said shakily, coming to the same conclusion as them; that the Wendigo had taken Dean and his sister, "if it keeps its victims alive, why would it kill Roy?"
"Honestly? I think because Roy shot at it, pissed it off," Sam said, his tone undeniably shaky.
Something at the edge of the trees caught Beatrice's eye and she stooped to pick it up. It was a small, blue peanut M&M, Dean's snack of choice. "They went this way," she told the boys confidently.
Sam laughed, taking the M&M from Beatrice. "Well, it's better than breadcrumbs."
The three of them followed the trail of M&Ms to the entrance of a mine. The doorway had been half barricaded, and decorated with caution tape and signs warning them away, but Beatrice pushed the barricade out of the way and they went inside. The tunnel ahead was dank and damp, and Beatrice shone her flashlight to try and guide their way.
There was a low growl at the end of the tunnel and Sam hastily pushed Beatrice's flashlight down. The Wendigo stopped, but then took a different turn and bypassed them all together. "That was too close," Beatrice said, breathing out heavily. She hadn't even realised she'd been holding her breath.
Sam nodded in agreement. "Let's go."
As they reached the end of the tunnel, the floorboards creaked loudly beneath their feet. Beatrice tried to dart out of the way, pulling the boys with her, but the wood gave way and the three of them fell through the floor into the cellar below.
It wasn't a massively long fall, but Beatrice landed awkwardly atop Sam, who groaned loudly. "Sorry, sorry!" She said, quickly scrambling to her feet. She held out her hand towards him and he used it to pull himself up, almost pulling her over again in the process.
"You okay?" Sam asked her softly. She nodded. "What about you, Ben?"
They both turned to see the young boy already up on his feet with his back to them, trembling violently as he observed a large pile of bones in the corner. "Whoa, whoa, hey. It's okay. It's alright," Sam assured him, rushing over to obscure his view.
"Sam!" Beatrice cried suddenly.
Sam whipped around at the urgency in her tone. She, like Ben, was stood with her back to them, staring down the room. Dean and Haley were hung by their wrists, both of them unconscious and bloodied, but seemingly alive. "Oh my god, Dean," Sam stammered, as he and Beatrice rushed towards him while Ben started towards his sister.
"Haley, wake up!" He cried.
"Dean? Dean!" Beatrice said. She took Dean's face in her hands and gave his head a little shake. His eyes flickered open and he slowly started to stir. "Dean? Hey, are you okay?"
Dean winced, then groaned. "Yeah."
Beatrice took her switch blade from the back of her jeans and reached up, cutting the ropes around his wrist and freeing him before crossing the room to help Ben take Haley down. "You sure you're alright?" She called to Dean over her shoulder.
"Yeah. Where is he?" Dean asked, rubbing his sore wrists.
"He's gone for now," Sam assured him.
Beatrice and Ben helped Haley sit back against the wall as she startled awake. "Are you alright?" Ben asked her.
Haley nodded. "Yeah I'm... Tommy!"
The group followed her gaze. Not far past where Haley and Dean had been hanging, another boy was still attached to the ceiling, his head hanging low as he breathed shallowly. Haley rushed to him, gently touching his cheek. At her touch, his head snapped up and he looked around wildly. "Cut him down!" Haley cried.
"We're gonna get you home," Haley assured him tearfully.
"Check it out," Dean said, nudging Beatrice's shoulder.
She turned to see a pile in the corner; all the supplies the Wendigo had stolen from them. Sam reached into the pile and picked up a pair of twin flare guns. "These'll work," he grinned, visibly excited at his find.
"Alright, let's get the hell out of here," Beatrice said.
Sam tossed a flare gun over to Dean, and the two brothers led the rest of the group back up through the tunnel towards the exit. Somewhere among the dark, winding labyrinth, there was a low growl. "Looks like someone's home for supper," Dean mumbled.
"We'll never outrun it," Haley stammered, clutching her brothers a little tighter.
Dean glanced across at Sam and Beatrice, both of whom had already exchanged a knowing look. "You two thinking what I'm thinking?" Dean asked. A small grin came onto his face.
"Yeah, I think so," Sam said.
"Alright, listen to me," Dean said to Haley and her brothers, turning to face them, "stay with Sam and Beatrice. They're gonna get you out of here."
"What are you gonna do?" Haley asked him.
Dean winked at her and without another word, took off down the opposite end of the tunnel, wielding his flare gun. "Chow time, you freaky bastard!" Beatrice heard him yell, "yeah, that's right. Bring it on, baby. I taste good."
Beatrice waited until Dean's voice disappeared completely down the tunnel before she turned to the siblings. "Alright, come on. Hurry!"
She and Sam started towards the exit, leaving Haley and the two boys to rush after them. Beatrice had been confident Dean would lead the Wendigo away from them, but there was more growling around the corner and she froze. "Bea, get them out of here," Sam said to her.
"Bea, go!" He said, raising his voice only ever so slightly. Beatrice stared at him, startled, but then she obediently started to lead Haley, Ben and Tommy away from Sam and the approaching Wendigo.
They started to approach the end of the tunnel but Sam still hadn't rejoined them. "Beatrice, come on!" Ben cried behind her.
Beatrice halted. "Sam?" She called, choosing to ignore Ben, "Sam, where are you?"
"Bea!" A voice called down the end of the corridor.
Sam's tall figure appeared as he skidded around the corner and Beatrice breathed out in relief, but her expression soured drastically when she saw the gangling silhouette of the Wendigo chasing behind him. "Get behind me!" Sam ordered.
He came to a stop in front of Beatrice and the others, holding out one arm protectively in front of them as he used the other to support the weight of the flare gun. The Wendigo stepped into their line of vision, taking it's time to come towards them as it truly savoured the moment; a meal large enough to see it through the whole of winter.
"Sam?" Beatrice said in a soft voice. He hushed her quietly.
And she did. Those two words were enough to settle the panic beginning to grip at her chest.
The Wendigo raised its claw, rearing back to deliver a fatal strike, but an inferno imploded in the middle of its chest and the beast went up in flames, ultimately disappearing. Dean was standing behind where the Wendigo had been only moments before, holding his own flare gun. "Not bad, huh?" He said with a grin.
Beatrice laughed shakily. "Yeah. Not bad at all."
The group stumbled out of the mine, following Dean's peanut M&M trail back to the main campsite, and then to the parking lot, where an ambulance was already parked waiting for them. "I don't know how to thank you," Haley said as paramedics swarmed them, guiding Tommy into the back of the ambulance.
Dean grinned lasciviously at her. Haley rolled her eyes, but smiled all the same. "Must you cheapen the moment?" She asked.
"Yeah!" Dean smirked.
A paramedic exited the ambulance, calling over to Haley and Ben, "you riding with your brother?"
"Yeah," Haley called back. She turned back to the trio and pressed a kiss to Dean's cheek. "Thank you all, for everything. I hope you find your Father."
"Man, I hate camping," Beatrice grumbled as the three of them made their way back to the Impala.
Sam laughed tiredly. "Yeah. Me too."
"Sam," Dean said suddenly, grabbing his brother's arm but Beatrice stopped as well, "you know we're gonna find Dad, right?"
"Yeah, I know," Sam responded earnestly, "but in the meantime? I'm driving."
Dean chuckled and tossed his brother the keys to the Impala. "Alright," the older Winchester said, "let's get out of here."
Chapter 11: Bloody Mary
Sam awoke suddenly and violently from a nightmare. His breathing was ragged and strained and his cheeks were damp with tears he hadn't felt fall. Eight weeks had passed since Jessica had been murdered, but it didn't take a genius to see he wasn't coping with it any better than he had been on the night she died.
He sighed heavily, sitting up in his bed and running his hands through his hair, visibly frustrated with himself. "Sam, you okay?" A voice asked across the motel room. Sam followed the voice to see Beatrice sitting across the room at the table, her dark green eyes peering at him over the top of her laptop screen.
"Yeah. Just a nightmare." He replied, forcing a smile.
"Jess?" She asked. Sam nodded in response and Beatrice smiled sympathetically. "Well, here's something to take your mind off it; I think I've found us a case." She got up from the table and passed the laptop to him with a large yawn. It was fairly obvious she'd not slept all night. Her face was pale under hastily applied makeup and her eyes were smudged with dark violet outlines she had failed to conceal.
'SHOEMAKER, STEVEN. The Shoemaker family is sad to announce the sudden death of of their beloved husband and father, Steven Shoemaker. Steven was 46. A short service will be held on Wednesday.'
"What do you think happened to this guy?" Sam asked, glancing up at her with raised eyebrows.
"That's what we're gonna find out," Beatrice said, taking her laptop back, "Dean's loading the Impala."
"Let's go, then." He yawned, getting up out of bed and throwing a clean shirt on before following Beatrice out to the parking lot.
"You had a nightmare." Dean said accusingly the second Sam got into the Impala.
"Yeah, another one. Well, at least I got some sleep." He sighed.
Dean nodded, eyeing his brother carefully before he said, "yeah. Let's go."
Four hours passed before the trio arrived in Toledo, Ohio. The hospital was a large, ominously grey-bricked building with large iron railings and small, dimly lit windows. It looked more like a prison than a place of healing and Beatrice found herself shuddering beneath her hoodie. They bypassed the receptionist and made their way to room one hundred and forty four, where they found the morgue tech sitting behind a desk. He eyed them suspiciously as they went in without knocking. "Hey." He said.
"Hey." Dean said in response.
"Can I help you?"
"Yeah, we're the uh..." Dean trailed off, looking to the others for help.
"Med students," Beatrice said quickly to avoid arousing anymore suspicion than they already had.
"Med students?" The tech said dubiously.
"Oh, Doctor..." she paused, stealing a glance at the second name plate on the desk, "...Figlavitch didn't tell you? We talked to him on the phone. We're from Ohio state. He's supposed to show us the Shoemaker corpse, for our paper."
"Well, I'm sorry. He's at lunch." The tech told them.
"Oh, well, he said, uh... you know, it doesn't matter. You don't mind showing us the body, do you?" Beatrice said smoothly, perching on the desk and flashing him a winning smile. The tech cleared his throat, shifting in his seat. "Doc will be back in an hour. You can wait for him if you want."
"An hour?" Beatrice cooed. "Oh, we gotta be heading back to Columbus by then."
"Uh, look, man. This paper's like half our grade, so if you don't mind helping us out-" Dean started with less than half of Beatrice's charm but the tech cut him off.
"Uh, look, man. No." The tech snapped.
"I'm gonna hit him in his face, I swear." Dean said through gritted teeth, earning a dig in the ribs from Beatrice and she shot him a pointed look as if to say, 'let me handle this'.
She sighed, pulling her purse from her bag and laying down a few twenties. "What about now?" She said in the same sickeningly sweet voice, "you going to let us in?"
The tech smirked, sliding the money off the desk and tucking it into his breast pocket as he finally relented. "Follow me." He got up and led them through a seemingly endless labyrinth of corridors and wards and disinfectant until they eventually arrived at the morgue. He pulled out the drawer containing Stephen's body and peeled back the sheet. Beatrice grimaced.
"The newspaper said his daughter found him," Sam said, unphased by the sight of the corpse. "She said his eyes were bleeding."
The tech nodded, recovering Stephen's face. "More than that. They practically liquefied."
"Any sign of a struggle? Maybe somebody did it to him?" Beatrice suggested.
"Nope. Besides the daughter, he was all alone."
"What's the official cause of death?" Sam asked.
"Ah, doc's not sure. He's thinking massive stroke, maybe an aneurysm? Something burst up in there, that's for sure."
"What do you mean?" Beatrice pressed.
"Intense cerebral bleeding. This guy had a lot more blood in his skull than anyone I've ever seen."
"The eyes, what could cause something like that?"
"Capillaries can burst. See a lot of bloodshot eyes with stroke victims."
"Yeah? You ever see exploding eyeballs?" Dean challenged him.
"That's a first for me. But hey, I'm not the doctor."
"Hey, you think we could take a look at that police report? For uh... our paper." Beatrice added, plastering the sweet smile back on her lips. The tech smirked, moving a little closer to her, and Beatrice tried not to let her disgust show on her face. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Sam and Dean quietly seething, but she didn't acknowledge either of them.
"Well, I'm not really supposed to show you that." The tech said, his tone flirtatious. Beatrice swallowed the urge to roll her eyes and from her purse, pulled out another twenty.
As they left the hospital and headed back towards the Impala, Beatrice sighed heavily. "Might not be one of hours. Might just be some freak medical thing."
"How many times in our long and varied career has it been some freak medical thing and not signs of a supernatural death?" Dean argued.
"Almost never," Sam pointed out.
"Exactly." Dean said, grinning at Beatrice's pouting face.
"All right, all right." She laughed. "Let's go talk to the daughter."
They entered the Shoemaker house in the middle of a wake and Beatrice immediately felt out of place. Not only were they dressed entirely inappropriately, it was difficult to interrogate a person in a room full of mourners.
"Feel like we're underdressed." Dean muttered aloud, almost as though he'd read Beatrice's mind. They wandered through the house until they reached the yard where more people were gathered, talking in hushed voices. A girl with a pixie haircut sat with another young girl who looked eerily similar to her, and two blondes.
"You must be Donna." Beatrice said gently, sitting by the girl with the pixie cut.
"Hi, uh, we're really sorry." Sam said softly.
"Thank you." Donna said, eyeing them suspiciously.
"I'm Sam. This is my brother, Dean, and this is his wife, Beatrice. We worked with your dad."
"Yeah. This whole thing, I mean, a stroke." Dean said, severely lacking Beatrice and Sam's tact.
"I don't really think she wants to talk about this right now." One of the blondes told them with a scowl.
"It's okay. I'm okay." Donna reassured her.
"Were there any symptoms? Dizziness? Migraines?" Beatrice pressed lightly.
"No." Donna shook her head but the youngest, a pale girl with long dark hair, looked at her big sister desperately.
"That's because it wasn't a stroke!" She cried.
"Lily, don't say that." Donna muttered.
"What?" Beatrice looked quizzically between the two sisters.
"I'm sorry, she's just upset."
"No! It happened because of me." The girl insisted desperately.
"Sweetie, it didn't."
"Lily," Sam knelt down to her level, "why would you say something like that?"
"Right before he died, I said it." Lily explained tearfully.
"You said what?" Beatrice frowned.
"Bloody Mary. Three times, in the bathroom mirror." An uncomfortable silence fell across the group, before Lily spoke again. "She took his eyes. That's what she does!"
"That's not why dad died. This wasn't your fault." Donna attempted again to soothe her.
"I think your sister's right, Lily. There's no way it could have been Bloody Mary. Your dad didn't say it, did he?" Dean said to the tearful girl, who shook her head.
"No.. I don't think so."
Beatrice smiled awkwardly. "Excuse us." The three hunters made their way back through the house and upstairs towards the bathroom. "The Bloody Mary legend. Did John ever find any evidence that it was a real thing?" She asked as she gave the bathroom mirror a suspicious once over.
"Not that I know of." Dean said.
Sam stooped to the floor, running his finger along the dried blood. "I mean, everywhere else, all over the country, kids will play Bloody Mary, and as far as we know nobody dies from it." He sighed, getting back to his feet.
"Yeah, well. Maybe everywhere it's just a story, but here it's actually happening." Dean suggested.
"The place where the legend began?" Beatrice offered. "Though according to the legend, the person who says B..." she trailed off, turning away so she was no longer facing the mirror, "the person who says 'you know what' gets it. But here..."
"Shoemaker gets it instead. Yeah." Dean concluded.
"Right. Never heard anything like that before. Still, the guy did die right in front of the mirror and the daughter's right. The way the legend goes, you know who scratches your eyes out."
"It's worth checking into." Sam nodded.
They stepped out of the bathroom and almost collided with one of Donna's blonde friends. "What are you doing up here?"
"We... we..." Dean looked to Beatrice for help.
"We had to go to the bathroom." She said quickly, then flushed red at the foolishness of her own suggestion.
"Who are you?" The girl demanded.
"Like we said downstairs, we worked with Donna's dad." Dean insisted.
The girl scowled at him. "He was a day trader or something. He worked by himself."
Dean's face fell. "No, I know, I meant-"
"And all those weird questions downstairs, what was that? So you tell me what's going on, or I start screaming."
"Alright, alright. We think something happened to Donna's dad." Sam relented.
"Yeah, a stroke."
"That's not the sign of a typical stroke." Beatrice pointed out. "We think it might be something else."
"Honestly, we don't know. But we don't want it to happen to anyone else. That's the truth. So, if you're gonna scream, go right ahead." Beatrice said with a little sarcasm.
"Who are you, cops?" The girl asked.
"Something like that," Dean smiled ever so slightly. "I'll tell you what, here," he pulled out a crumpled receipt from his back pocket and scribbled down his phone number on the back, "if you think of anything, you or your friends see anything strange, out of the ordinary.. just give us a call." He handed her the paper, and the trio left the house.
Rain battered the street as Sam, Dean and Beatrice rushed into the library, partly to work, and partly to shelter from the storm. It was dark for the time of day, even considering the dense cloud covering the city.
"Alright," Dean said as he collapsed at a table and rung the corner of his shirt out on the carpet, "say Bloody Mary really is haunting this town. There's gonna be some sort of proof, like a local woman who died nasty."
"Yeah, but a legend this widespread it's hard," Sam sighed, "I mean, there's like fifty variations of who she actually is. One story says she's a witch, another says she's a mutilated bride. And there's a lot more."
"Alright, so what are we supposed to be looking for?"
"Every version's got some things in common," Beatrice told them, "it's always a woman named Mary, and she always dies right in front of a mirror. So we've gotta search local newspapers, public records as far back as they go. See if we can find a Mary who fits the bill."
"Well, that sounds annoying." Dean sighed, glancing over at the row of computers. Each one had an 'OUT OF ORDER' sign taped to them, inked in unnecessarily fine calligraphy.
"Agreed." Sam muttered, getting up to scan the shelves for an appropriate book. "Let's get to work."
Sam startled awake. It was late morning. Beatrice was in the bed beside his, scribbling in a journal, while Dean sat at the table across from them, flicking through a book titled 'Legends and Lore'.
"Why'd you let me sleep?" Sam mumbled groggily as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. At the sound of his voice, Beatrice near enough jumped out of her skin.
"Cause I'm an awesome brother," Dean said without looking up, "so what did you dream about?"
"Lollipops and candy canes." Sam said sarcastically, "did you find anything?"
"Oh, besides a whole new level of frustration?" Dean said. "No. I've looked at everything. A few local women, a Laura and a Catherine committed suicide in front of a mirror and a giant mirror fell on a guy named Dave, but uh, no Mary."
"Maybe we just haven't found it yet," Beatrice sighed, attempting to reassure them but even she didn't sound overly convinced.
"I've also been searching for strange deaths in the area. You know, eyeball bleeding, that sort of thing. There's nothing. Whatever's happening here, maybe it just ain't Mary." Dean continued, glancing at Beatrice who shrugged, equally as clueless.
On the bedside table by Sam, his phone rang. He exchanged a glance with Beatrice before picking up. "Hello?" He said nothing else, but the expression on his face said it all.
Beatrice perched awkwardly on the back of the bench behind Dean, who sat sandwiched in between Sam and Donna's friend; Charlie, who wailed into her hands. There were few passers by, and though no one chose to pass comment, the looks they were receiving increased in strangeness. "And they found her," Charlie concluded through a sob, "on the bathroom floor and her... her eyes. They were gone."
"I'm sorry," Sam said gently.
"And she said it. I heard her say it! But it couldn't be because of that. I'm insane, right?"
"No, you're not insane." Beatrice assured her.
"Oh, god. That makes me feel so much worse."
"Look, we think something's happening here. Something that can't be explained." Beatrice told her, unsure of how to word it, "and we're gonna stop it, but we could use your help."
"Alright." Charlie nodded. "What do I need to do?"
Charlie shut the bedroom door, once belonging to her best friend. The window opposite her was slightly ajar, but she flung it wide open. Balanced on the sill were three people who couldn’t be seen from the floor below. "What'd you tell Jill's mom?" Dean asked as he climbed through the window, shortly followed by Sam who helped Beatrice in.
"Just that I needed some time alone with Jill's pictures and things," Charlie sighed as Sam pulled something from a rucksack and Dean closed the curtains, "I hate lying to her."
"Trust us, this is for the greater good. Hit the lights." Beatrice said.
Charlie flicked the light switch into the 'standby' position. "What are you guys looking for?" She asked, curiously observing them as they pottered about the bedroom.
"We'll let you know as soon as we find it." Sam promised her. He had a digital camera at the ready, which he handed to Dean. "Hey, night vision." Dean switched the settings for him. "Perfect." He took the camera back and aimed it at Dean.
"Do I look like Paris Hilton?" He smirked. Sam playfully rolled his eyes and went over to the floor length mirror.
"So, I don't get it," Beatrice muttered, watching Sam film the mirror, "I mean, the first victim didn't summon Mary, and the second one did. How's she choosing her victims?"
"Beats me." Dean sighed. Sam closed the wardrobe door. "But what I want to know is why Jill said it in the first place."
"It was just a joke." Charlie said sheepishly.
"Yeah, well somebody's gonna say it again. It's just a matter of time." Sam stood in the bathroom, filming around the mirror where Jill died, when he paused. "Hey," he called. Beatrice got up from the edge of the bed and joined him in the bathroom. "There's a black light in the trunk, right?" He asked. Beatrice nodded. They both turned to face Dean, who sighed and disappeared back through the window. When he returned a moment later, he had the black light.
"Thanks," Sam said. He and Beatrice carried the mirror back to the bed and tore the brown paper wallpapering the back of the glass. Beatrice turned on the light, and illuminated the words 'GARY BRYMAN', smeared in what Beatrice could only assume was blood.
"You know who that is?" Beatrice asked, glancing over at Charlie.
Charlie shook her head. "No."
When they returned to the park a couple of hours later, Charlie was already waiting for them, sitting on the same bench. "So, Gary Bryman was an eight year old boy," Sam said, "two years ago, he was killed in a hit and run. The car was described as a black Toyota Camry, but nobody got the plates or saw the driver."
"Oh my god." Charlie gasped.
"What?" Beatrice asked.
"Jill drove that car."
Beatrice exchanged an uneasy glance with the brothers. "We need to get back to your friend Donna's house."
Donna Shoemaker's lounge had an incredibly uncomfortable and tense feel to it. Charlie sat with her friend on the sofa while the three hunters lingered awkwardly in the doorway. "Why are you asking me this?" Donna asked quietly.
"Look, we're sorry, but it's important." Beatrice told her gently.
"Yeah, Linda's my mom, okay? She overdosed on sleeping pills. It was an accident, and that's it. I... I think you should leave."
"Now, Donna, just listen-" Dean started but she cut him off.
"Get out of my house!" With an anguished sob she ran upstairs.
There was an awkward silence as they watched her go, followed by her bedroom door slamming upstairs. "You really think her Dad could've killed her Mom?" Charlie asked quietly.
"Maybe." Sam admitted.
"I think I should stick around." She sighed, casting a sideways glance towards the staircase.
"Alright," Beatrice said softly, "just... whatever you do, don't-"
"Believe me; I won't say it."
Back at the library, the three of them had been researching Mary for hours. Beatrice was desperate to return to the motel and get some much needed sleep, but she was determined to finish the case first. That came before anything else. "Wait, wait, wait. You're doing a nationwide search?" She heard Sam say, and she momentarily looked up from her own book.
"Yep," Dean said tiredly, "the NCIC, the FBI database. At this point, any Mary who died in front of a mirror is good enough for me."
"But if she's haunting the town, she should have died in the town." Beatrice reminded him.
"I'm telling you, nothing local, I've checked. So unless you got a better idea..." He looked between her and Sam but neither of them had any suggestions so he went on, "the way Mary's choosing her victims. It seems there's a pattern."
"I know," Beatrice admitted, "I was thinking the same thing."
"With Mr. Shoemaker, and Jill's hit and run, both had secrets where people died."
"Right," Sam said, "I mean, there's a lot of folklore about mirrors, that they reveal all your lies, your secrets, that they're a true reflection of your soul. Which is why it's bad luck to break them."
"Right, right. So maybe if you've got a secret, I mean like a really nasty one where someone died, then Mary sees it, and punishes you for it." Beatrice joined in, "whether you're the one who summoned her, or not."
"Take a look at this." Sam said to her, handing her a crime scene photo. Pictured was a woman, lying in a pool of blood at the base a mirror. On the mirror was a handprint and the word 'TRE' written in Mary's blood. Beatrice cringed. "Her name was Mary Worthington. An unsolved murder in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”
“Well then,” Beatrice rose to her feet, “let’s go check it out.”
"I was on the job for 35 years. Detective for most of that. Now everybody packs it in with a few loose ends, but the Mary Worthington murder. That still gets me." The detective sighed, taking his hat off and laying it on the table.
"What exactly happened?" Beatrice asked.
"You kids said you were reporters?"
"We know Mary was nineteen," Beatrice continued, ignoring the question, "lived by herself. We know she won a few local beauty contests, dreamt of getting out of Indiana, being an actress. And we know on the night of March twenty ninth someone broke into her apartment and murdered her, cut out her eyes with a knife."
"That's right." The detective nodded.
"See, sir, when we asked you what happened, we want to know what you think happened." Sam said.
The detective turned to a filing cabinet and pulled out a picture, the same crime scene photo Sam had shown them at the library. "Technically," he smiled sadly, "I'm not supposed to have a copy of this. Now, see that? T-R-E?" He pointed to the lettering on the mirror. The trio nodded. "I think she was trying to spell out the name of her killer."
"You know who it was?" Sam glanced back the detective.
"Not for sure. But there was a local man, a surgeon. Trevor Sampson. And I think he cut her up good."
"Now, why would he do something like that?" Dean asked.
"Her diary mentioned a man she was seeing," the detective explained, "she called him by his initial, T. Well, her last entry, she was gonna tell T's wife about their affair."
"Yeah, but how do you know Sampson killed her?"
"It's hard to say, but the way her eyes were cut out, it was almost professional."
"But you could never prove it?" Beatrice said sadly.
"No. No prints, no witnesses. He was meticulous.”
"Is he still alive?" She asked hopefully.
The detective let out an extended sigh. "Nope. If you ask me, Mary spent her last living moments trying to expose this guy's secret. But she never could."
"Where's she buried?"
"She wasn't. She was cremated."
"What about the mirror?" Dean nodded towards the framed glass in the picture, "it's not in some evidence lockup is it?"
"Ah, no. It was returned to Mary's family a long time ago."
"You have the names of her family, by any chance?"
"Oh, really? Ah, that's too bad Mr Worthington. I would have paid a lot for that mirror. Okay, well maybe next time. Alright, thanks." Sam snapped the phone shut. "So that was Mary's brother. The mirror was in the family for years, until he sold it one week ago to a store called Estate Antiques. A store in Toledo."
"So wherever the mirror goes, Mary goes?" Dean asked, casting his eyes from the road for a split second to look at Sam.
He nodded. "Her spirits definitely tied up with it somehow."
"Isn't there an old superstition that says mirrors can capture spirits?" Beatrice asked, leaning forward slightly.
"Yeah there is. Yeah, when someone would die in a house people would cover up the mirrors so the ghost wouldn't get trapped." Sam confirmed with a nod, turning in his seat to talk to her properly.
"So Mary dies in front of a mirror and it draws in her spirit." Beatrice concluded.
"Yeah but how could she move through like... a hundred different mirrors?" Dean asked.
"I don't know. But if the mirror is the source, I say we find it and smash it."
"I don't know. Maybe."
Beatrice sighed at his response. The sound of Sam's cell ringing filled the Impala. "You gonna answer that?" Beatrice asked after a moment. Sam chuckled, opening the flip phone.
"Hello?" A familiar worried expression passed over his face. "Charlie?"
Charlie sat cross legged on the motel bed with her head in her hands. Every so often, she'd let out a little muffled sob as Beatrice, Sam and Dean covered all the reflective surfaces in the room. "You're gonna stay right on this bed," Beatrice said firmly, "and you're not gonna look at glass, or anything else that has a reflection. Okay? As long as you do that, she cannot hurt you.”
Sam perched on the bed beside Charlie as Dean and Beatrice finished up, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "Hey, hey. It's okay. Hey, you can open up your eyes. Charlie, it's okay. Alright?" He assured her gently. She looked up slowly, wiping her eyes.
"But I can't keep that up forever. I'm gonna die, aren't I?"
"No, no. Not anytime soon." Sam promised her. "Alright Charlie. We need to know what happened."
"We were in the bathroom," she explained through another sob, "Donna said it."
"That's not what we're talking about," Beatrice sighed, "something happened, didn't it? In your life. A secret. Where someone got hurt. Can you tell us about it?"
"I had a boyfriend. I loved him. But he kind of scared me too, you know? And one night, at his house, we got in this fight. Then I broke up with him, and he got upset, and he said he needed me and he loved me. And he said, 'Charlie, if you walk out that door right now, I'm gonna kill myself.' And you know what I said? I said 'go ahead'. And I left. How could I say that? How could I leave him like that? I just... I didn't believe him, you know? I should have."
Sorry again for the inconsistent updates!! I uploaded an extra chapter yesterday as apology but I'm hoping from today I'll be back to my usual upload schedule of Thursdays and Sundays. As always, thank you, and I hope you enjoy the chapter!
"You know, her boyfriend killing herself. That's not really Charlie's fault." Dean said softly, pulling out of the motel parking lot.
"You know as well as I do that spirits don't exactly see shades of grey, Dean," Beatrice sighed, "Charlie had a secret, someone died, and that's good enough for Mary."
"You know, I've been thinking. It might not be enough just to smash that mirror." Sam said.
"Why, what do you mean?" Dean asked. Beatrice could see by his face that he didn't like where Sam was going with his point.
"Well, Mary's hard to pin down, right? I mean, she moves from mirror to mirror so who's to say she's not just gonna keep hiding in them forever? Maybe we should try to pin her down, you know, summon her to her mirror and then smash it."
"Well, how do you know that's gonna work?" Beatrice pushed. Much like Dean, she didn't think she was going to like his answer.
"I don't. Not for sure." Sam admitted.
"Who's gonna summon her?" Dean asked.
"I will," Sam said bravely, "she'll come after me."
"You know what, that's it." Dean pulled up on the side of the curb. "This is about Jessica, isn't it? You think that's your dirty little secret, that you killed her somehow? Sam, this has got to stop, man. I mean, the nightmares and calling out her name in the middle of the night. It's gonna kill you. Now listen to me; it wasn't your fault. If you wanna blame something, blame the thing that killed her. Or hell, why don't you take a swing at me? I mean, I'm the one who dragged you away from her."
"And me." Beatrice added quietly, her voice strained with guilt.
"I don't blame you. Either of you." Sam said firmly.
"Well, you shouldn't blame yourself, because there's nothing you could have done." Dean said tiredly.
"I could've warned her."
"About what? You didn't know that it was gonna happen! And besides, all of this isn't a secret. I mean, we know all about it. It's not gonna work with Mary anyway."
"No, you don't."
"We don't what?"
"You don't know all about it," Sam said crossly. He shifted uncomfortably in hiss eat, "I haven't told you everything."
"What are you talking about?" Beatrice asked.
"Well, it wouldn't be a secret if I told you, would it?"
"No. I don't like it. It's not gonna happen, forget it." Dean insisted.
"Dean, that girl back there is going to die unless we do something about it. And you know what? Who knows how many more people are gonna die after that? Now we're doing this. You've got to let me do this." Sam's tone turned pleading.
Dean nodded slowly. He wordlessly started the engine again and drove the remainder of the way in total silence. When they arrived, Beatrice picked the lock with a hair pin and they went in. Every surface was decorated with mirrors and she sighed heavily. "Well, that's just great. Alright. Let's start looking."
They split up. From across the shop, Dean called, "maybe they've already sold it?"
"No, I don't think so," Beatrice mumbled, coming to a stop in front of a large mirror. She pulled out the photo from her pocket. "That's it," she said to Sam. "You sure about this?"
Sam smiled weakly as Dean joined them. "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary."
Dean and Beatrice watched on nervously. Behind them, a pair of headlights shone into the store. Dean sighed. "I'll go check that out. Stay here, and be careful. Smash anything that moves." He handed Beatrice the crowbar and left the store. Beatrice could hear his faint voice drifting through the door. "Crap." He muttered. She almost smiled, then remembered why they were there.
A sharp breath came behind them and the two whipped around to look. Mary flashed into the mirror, causing Beatrice to gasp and hit out blindly with the crowbar, smashing the mirror before Sam could react. She appeared again in another mirror to the left of them, which Sam kicked with full force, shattering it.
"Come on, come into this one." He muttered.
Beatrice froze. "Sam, look," she whispered. Her reflection was as it should have been, but Sam's was smiling at them, despite the stony look on Sam's own face. Sam panicked and before he let out a choked breath, he pushed Beatrice to one side, away from the mirror. His hand then flew to his chest, gripping his shirt.
"It's your fault. You killed her. You killed Jessica." Sam's reflection told him. "You never told her the truth, who you really were. But it's more than that, isn't it? The nightmares you've been having of Jessica dying, screaming, burning. You had them for days before she died. Didn't you? You were so desperate to ignore them, to believe they were just dreams. How could you ignore them like that? How could you leave her alone to die? You dreamt it would happen!"
Beatrice stared intently at Sam but he was frozen in fear, blood pooling in the corners of her eyes. "Shit!" She swung at the mirror with the crowbar and as it smashed, Sam collapsed. Dean rushed into the store and crouched by him, shaking Sam’s shoulder hard.
"Sam? Sammy!" Dean fretted.
"It's Sam." Sam muttered, his eyes still closed.
"God, are you okay?" Beatrice fretted.
"Uh, yeah." Sam said, cracking open one eye.
"Come on." Dean started to pull Sam to his feet but Beatrice couldn't take her eyes off the broken mirror. From the frame, Mary's jerky body crawled unnaturally from the frame, as though she moved on broken bones.
"D-Dean!" She screamed, finding her voice at the last moment.
Mary started to straighten up and as she fixed her glare on the trio, they all collapsed, blood dripping down their faces. In a moment of desperation, Beatrice reached out weakly and snatched a small mirror from the display, turning the glass towards Mary. The Ghost tilted her head in confusion, much like a kicked puppy.
"You killed them!" The reflection choked out in an uncharacteristically deep voice, "all those people! You killed them!"
Mary let out a strangled cry, reaching for her throat but before her hands could make contact with her flesh she melted, feet first, into a pile of blood on the floor. Beatrice breathed out in relief, throwing the mirror to the ground. "Hey guys?" She whispered.
"Yeah?" They said together.
She grinned sleepily, wiping blood from her face. "This has got to be... like... what, six hundred years of bad luck?"
The only sound, cutting through the night, was the sound of the engine humming as it worked hard to keep the Impala rolling down the long stretch of dark road. The car came to a stop outside the house and Beatrice sighed deeply, almost as though relieved.
"So this is really over?" Charlie asked anxiously from beside her.
"Yeah, it's over." Dean reassured her.
"Thank you." She beamed as she got out of the car.
"Charlie?" Beatrice called through the open window. "Your boyfriend's death... you really should try and forgive yourself. No matter what you did, you probably couldn't have stopped it. Sometimes bad things just happen."
Charlie nodded, hesitated, then disappeared into the house. Dean grinned at Beatrice in the rear view mirror. "That's good advice." He awoke the engine and drove down the street in silence for a moment before momentarily glancing at his brother. "Hey, Sam?"
"Now that this is all over, I want you to tell me what the secret was." He said.
Sam seemed to hesitate. He looked back at Beatrice, but she was purposefully looking out of the window, avoiding his gaze. "Look, you're my brother, and I'd die for you. But there are some things I need to keep to myself." He said finally, forcing a smile.
Beatrice sighed deeply, resting her forehead against the window.
The old Impala pulled up at a run down gas station. "Alright," Dean yawned, stretching his arms out in front of him over the steering wheel, "I figured we'd hit Tucumcari by lunch, then head south, hit Bisbee by midnight." He glanced between Sam and Beatrice, neither of whom appeared to be listening. Dean rolled his eyes. "Sam wears women's underwear," he added, in attempt to get their attention. Beatrice rolled her eyes.
"I've been listening. I'm just busy." Sam muttered to his laptop screen.
"Busy doing what?"
"Reading e-mails." Sam answered, still not looking up. Dean got out of the car and began filling the tank, leaving the door open so he could still talk to the pair of them.
"E-mails from who?" Beatrice asked curiously, resting her chin on the back of the seat in front of her.
"From my friends at Stanford." Sam told her.
"You're kidding?" Dean scoffed, "you still keep in touch with your college buddies?"
"Why not?" Sam's tone was only slightly defensive.
"Well, exactly what do you tell em'? You know, about where you've been, what you've been doing?"
"I tell them I'm on a road trip with my big brother and his girlfriend. I tell them I need some time, after Jess."
"Oh, so you lie to them?" Dean frowned, getting back in the car.
"No," Sam scowled, "I just don't tell them everything."
"Yeah, that's called lying. I mean, hey, man, I get it. Telling the truth is far worse."
"So, what am I supposed to do? Just cut everyone out of my life." He glanced at Dean, who shrugged. "You're serious?"
"Look, it sucks. But in a job like this, you can't get too close to people. Period."
"You're kind of anti social, you know that?" Beatrice told Dean with a scoff, sitting up and leaning forward in her seat. She turned to Sam with an eyebrow raised in question. “Sam, you don’t actually think I’m Dean’s girlfriend, right?”
“What?" For a second, Sam looked genuinely surprised, and then sheepish, "oh. Uh, yeah. I did.”
Dean and Beatrice both stared at him before erupting into a fit of giggles. "Why the hell did you think that?" Dean laughed.
"Well, the night you broke into my apartment you introduced her as your girlfriend!" Sam defended himself.
"Oh my God, Sammy, that was a cover." Dean spluttered.
“I can’t believe this whole time you thought me and Dean were getting it on.” Beatrice giggled.
"I don't know, Bea, maybe we should." Dean teased her. Beatrice smiled and rolled her eyes playfully and Sam laughed as he continued to scroll through his emails. As he came across a particular message, his face fell drastically.
"God..." He mumbled under his breath.
"What?" Beatrice asked as the car jolted forward, sending her flying in her seat.
"In this email from this girl Rebecca Warren. One of those friends of mine."
"Is she hot?" Dean asked excitedly.
Sam ignored his comment. "I went to school with her and her brother, Zack. She says Zack's been charged with murder. He's been arrested for killing his girlfriend. Rebecca says he didn't do it, but it sounds like the cops have a pretty good case."
"Dude, what kind of people are you hanging with?" Beatrice stared at the back of his head, raising an eyebrow.
"No, I know Zack. He's no killer." Sam insisted.
"Well, maybe you know Zack as well as he knows you." Dean sighed, pulling out of the gas station.
"They're in St Louis. We're going."
"Look, sorry about your buddy, okay? But this does not sound like our kind of problem."
"It is our problem. They're my friends."
"Sam's right, Dean," Beatrice cut in, "if something is going on, and we choose to ignore it..."
"St Louis is four hundred miles behind us, guys." Dean groaned. But as he pulled out onto the highway, he turned left instead of right. Sam smiled triumphantly. For once, he’d gotten his way.
Before Sam could even knock, the white painted door swung open. "Oh my god, Sam!" The pretty blonde girl who had answered pulled Sam in for a hug.
He laughed brightly, catching her. "Well, if it isn't little Becky."
"You know what you can do with that little Becky crap." Rebecca smirked, pulling back from the hug.
"Oh, she's definitely hot," Dean muttered to Beatrice, who smacked his arm.
"I got your email." Sam smiled sadly.
"I didn't think you'd come here." She admitted. Her eyes flickered between Dean and Beatrice.
"Dean. Older brother." He extended his hand, and she shook it.
"Beatrice. I'm a friend." Beatrice introduced herself.
"Hi." Rebecca said back.
"We're here to help, whatever we can do." Sam said, sensing some awkward tension.
"Come in." Rebecca stepped aside to let the trio in. Dean shut the door behind him, taking a good look around the hallway.
"Nice place." He commented.
"It's my parents'," Becky explained, "I was just crashing here for the long weekend when everything happened. I decided to take the semester off. I'm gonna stay until Zack's free."
"Where are your folks?" Beatrice asked curiously.
"They live in Paris for half the year, so they're on their way home now for the trial. Do you guys want a beer or something?" She offered. Dean's face visibly lit up, but Sam cut him off.
"No, thanks. So, tell us what happened."
"Well, um, Zack came home and he found Emily tied to a chair. And she was beaten up and bloody, and she wasn't breathing," Rebecca paused for a moment to gather herself as tears rolled down her cheeks, "so, he called 911, and the police, they showed up, and they arrested him. But the thing is, the only way that Zack could have killed Emily is if he was in two places at once. The police; they have a video. It's from the security tape across the street, and it shows Zack coming home at ten thirty. Now, Emily was killed just after that, but I swear, he was here with me, having a few beers until at least after midnight."
"You know, maybe we could see the crime scene," Sam said gently, "Zack's house."
"We could." Dean nodded.
"What could you do?" She asked tearfully.
"Well, me, not much. But Dean's a cop, and Bea's in training." Sam said. Beatrice shot him a look. Aside from the standard bullshit they told regular cops, she didn’t know a thing about the profession and Sam knew that.
"Detective actually." Dean corrected him, giving him the same icy stare.
"Really?" Rebecca said, wiping her tears. "Where?"
"Bisbee, Arizona. But we're off duty, now."
"You guys, it's so nice to offer, but I just... I don't know."
"Bec, look, I know Zack didn't do this. Now, we have to find a way to prove that he's innocent." Sam said.
"Okay. I'm gonna go get the keys." She disappeared down the hall.
"Oh, yeah, man. You're a real straight shooter with your friends." Dean said sarcastically.
"Look, Zack and Becky need our help." Sam said, choosing to ignore his brother's snarky comment.
"I just don't think this is our kind of problem."
"Two places at once?"
Beatrice shrugged, once again siding with Sam. "We've looked into less."
So, I may have gone awol again.
It's been a wild few months. I got a proper grown up job, and finished university, and that kind of consumed any and all free time that I had. But I'm back, and ready to hit y'all with consistent updates! As an apology, I'll be uploading two chapters tonight in one go so you have something to binge on until Sunday.
With that said, on with the chapters! ~
Zack's street was completely abandoned. Every window was covered with curtains, and there wasn't a single car on the move. Beatrice presumed it had something to do with a murder in the seemingly quaint neighborhood. Rebecca turned to Dean, chewing her lip nervously. "You sure this is okay?"
"Yeah. We are officers of the law." He assured her, but shot a wink at Beatrice, who had to suppress a giggle. As they entered, the joy faded from her face and she held back a shudder. Both the walls and furniture were smeared with dark blood.
"Nice." Beatrice grimaced. Rebecca lingered on the porch, staring at her feet.
"Bec, you wanna wait outside?" Sam offered gently.
"No... I... I want to help." She ducked under the police tape and entered the lounge.
"Tell us what the police said." Beatrice said.
"Well," she began tearfully, "there's no sign of a break in. They say that Emily let her attacker in. The lawyers, they're already talking about a plea bargain. Oh, god." Rebecca cut off, crying.
"Look, Rebecca, if Zack didn't do this, it means someone else did. Have you any idea who?" Beatrice asked.
"Um, there was something. About a week ago? Somebody broke in here and stole some of Zack's clothes. The police, they don't think it's anything. I mean, we're not that far from downtown. Sometimes people get robbed." As they left, a large grey dog stood on it's hind legs against the railing, barking as if he’d gone mad at the sight of them. "You know, that used to be the sweetest dog."
"What happened?" Dean asked.
"He just... changed."
"Do you remember when he changed?" Beatrice pressed.
"I guess around the time of the murder." She said.
Dean nodded in acknowledgement and then then made his way into the kitchen. Beatrice followed. "So, the neighbor's dog went psycho right around the time Zack's girlfriend was killed?" She said to him, leaning back against the kitchen counter, but then she thought better of it as she spotted a bloodstain across the room and she stood up straight again.
"Animals can have a strong sense of the paranormal." He shrugged.
"Yeah, maybe Fido saw something."
"So, you think this is our kind of problem?" Dean asked her, raising an eyebrow.
Beatrice shrugged. "No. Probably not, but... I think we should look at the security tape. You know, just to make sure?"
"Yeah." As they chatted, Sam and Rebecca entered the kitchen. "So the tape," Dean said to her, "the security footage, you think maybe your lawyers can get their hands on it? 'Cause we don't have that kind of jurisdiction."
"I've already got it," Rebecca admitted sheepishly, "I just didn't wanna say it in front of two cops. I stole it off the lawyer's desk. I just had to see it for myself."
Beatrice couldn’t help but laugh. “I like you already, Rebecca. Alright, let’s get out of here." The four left, the dog still barking in the background.
"Here he comes." Rebecca bit her bottom lip.
The glitching tape played on. As Zack entered the house, Beatrice paused it. "22:04. That's just after ten. You said time of death was about 10:30." She said.
"Our lawyers hired some kind of video expert. He says the tape's authentic. It wasn't tampered with." Rebecca explained. Sam nodded slowly, pressing play on the control. He wanted to see how this went down.
"Hey, Bec? Can we take those beers now?" He asked her hopefully.
"Oh, sure." Rebecca stood up.
"Hey, maybe some sandwiches too?"
"What do you think this is? Hooters?" She left.
Dean smirked at Beatrice. "I wish."
He glanced at the tape Sam had been studying so vigorously. "Check this out." He said to them. He rewound the tape, then replayed it. On one of the frames, Zack was looking directly at the camera. His eyes flashed silver and he grinned wickedly, then returned to normal as he moved on. Sam paused it.
"Well, maybe it's just a camera flare?" Beatrice suggested though she didn't sound sure.
"That's not like any camera flare I've ever seen," he mused, not taking his eyes off the screen, "you know, a lot of cultures believe that a photograph can catch a glimpse of the soul."
"Right. Remember that dog, that was freaking out?" She remembered suddenly, "maybe he saw this thing. Maybe this is some kind of dark double of Zack's, something that looks like him but isn't him."
"Like a doppelganger." Dean said.
"Yeah. It'd sure explain how he was in two places at once."
"Alright, so what are we doing here at 5:30 in the morning?" Dean asked as he parked the car and got out, looking around at the street.
"I realized something," Beatrice said, pulling her jacket tighter around her to keep out the evening chill, "the videotape shows the killer going in, but not coming out." She opened her car door and got out, stepping onto the street.
"So, he came out the back door?" Dean glanced at her, leaning on the hood of the Impala.
"Right," she agreed, "so there should be a trail to follow. A trail the police would never pursue."
"Because they think the killer never left. And, they caught Zack inside. Though, I still don't know what we're doin' here at 5:30 in the morning." Dean grumbled.
Sam cast his eyes around the outside of a building, seeing blood smeared on a nearby telephone pole. "Blood. Somebody came this way." He said quietly.
"Yeah, but the trail ends. I don't see anything over here." Dean pointed out.
An ambulance drove past, sirens blazing, and they all exchanged glances. Beatrice moved first, chasing after the ambulance with surprising speed even she didn't know she possessed. "What... happened?" She asked a nearby woman, panting as she struggled to catch her breath. An Asian man was slammed against the hood of a cop car, cuffs securing his hands around his back.
"He tried to kill his wife," the woman sighed, "tied her up and beat her."
"Really?" Beatrice said, trying to sound more sympathetic than interested.
"I used to see him going to work in a morning. He'd wave, say hello. He seemed like a nice guy." She sighed. Beatrice watched the man being driven away with a frown. The Winchesters joined her at her side, panting audibly and they glared at her for making them run.
"Hey. Remember when I said this wasn't our kind of problem?" Dean said.
"Yeah." Beatrice said with a strained smile.
"Definitely our kind of problem."
"What'd you find out?" Sam asked. The side of the house was empty as the trio searched.
"Well, I just talked to the patrolman who was first on the scene. Heard this guy, Alex's story. Apparently the dude was driving home from a business trip when his wife was attacked." Dean explained.
"So, he was two places at once?" Beatrice said groggily, having just awoken from a well deserved nap in the back of the Impala.
"Exactly. Then, he sees himself in the house, police think he's a nutjob."
"Two dark doubles attacking loved ones in exactly the same way."
"Could be the same thing doing it too." Dean suggested.
"Shapeshifter?" Beatrice offered. "Something that can make itself look like anyone? Every culture in the world has a shapeshifter lore. You know, legends of creatures who can transform themselves into animals or other men."
"Right. Skinwalkers, werewolves…” Sam nodded in agreement with her. "We've got two attacks within blocks of each other. I'm guessing we've got a shapeshifter prowling the neighborhood."
"Let me ask you, in all this shapeshifter lore, can any of them fly?" She asked him suddenly.
"Not that I know of." Sam said with a raised eyebrow, wondering where she was going with her point.
"I picked up a trail here," she explained, seeing his expression, "someone ran out of the back of this building, and headed off this way, just like your friend's house."
"Yeah, and just like at Zack's house, the trail suddenly ends. I mean, whatever it is, just disappeared." Sam noted.
"Well, there's another way to go. Down." Beatrice looked down at her feet.
Sam looked at her as though she'd lost her mind, but when he followed her gaze down, her saw the manhole cover she had been standing on. "Nice work, Bea!"
"I bet this runs right by Zack's house, too," Beatrice mumbled, following Sam and Dean through the twisting sewer system, "the shapeshifter could be using the sewer system to get around."
Dean looked around, grimacing at the sight of cockroaches nesting on a rusting pipe. "I think you're right. Look at this." Dean bent down and examined a pile of damp skin and blood on the floor. "Ugh."
"That's sick." Beatrice groaned, picking it up with the edge of her switchblade. "Is this from his victims?"
"You know, I just had a sick thought," Dean mumbled, scrunching his nose up in disgust, "when the shifter changes shape, maybe it… sheds." He paused, waiting for the grossed-out reactions of his companions.
"That is sick." Sam agreed as Beatrice dropped the bloody pile back onto the tiled flooring. They left the manhole and made their way back to the Impala which was parked a little way away. Dean popped open the trunk to reveal an arsenal of weapons.
"Well, one thing I learned from Dad, is that no matter what kind of shapeshifter it is, there's one sure way to kill it." He mumbled.
"Silver bullet to the heart." Beatrice answered.
"That's right." He grinned.
As Dean spoke, Sam's cell began to ring. He picked it up without checking his call ID. "This is Sam." He said. Beatrice motioned for him to put it on speakerphone, which he did.
"Where are you?" It was Rebecca. Her voice was tense.
"We're near Zack's, we're just checking some stuff out."
"Well, look, Sam. Just stop, because I really don't need your help any more."
Sam's face fell. "What are you talking about?"
"I told the lawyers we went to the crime scene."
"Why would you do that?" Sam said, aghast.
"Well, I told them we were there with a couple of police officers. And they checked it out, and they told me there is no detective Dean Winchester or trainee Beatrice Di Angelis."
"Bec-" Sam tried but Rebecca swiftly cut him off.
"No, I don't understand why you would lie to me about something like that!"
"We're trying to help." Sam insisted.
"Oh, trying to help? Do you realize that was a sealed crime scene? This could have ruined Zack's case!”
"Bec, I'm sorry, but-"
"No. Goodbye, Sam." The line went dead.
"I hate to say it, but that's exactly what I'm talking about," Dean sighed, "you lie to your friends, because if they knew the real you, they'd be freaked out. It's just.. It'd be easier if.."
"If he was like you." Beatrice frowned, folding her arms.
"Hey, guys, like it or not we are not like other people. But I'll tell you one thing. This whole gig, it ain't without perks." He held up a gun, which Sam took and slipped into the side of his jeans waistband. They turned away from the car and headed back towards the manhole behind Zack's house. Dean pulled off the cover and jumped in with little hesitation. Beatrice heard him land.
"It stinks so bad," she complained as Sam helped lower her back into the sewer.
"I think we're close to it's lair." Dean said, ignoring Beatrice as she landed beside him.
"Why do you say that?" She asked.
"Because there's another puke inducing pile, right next to your face."
"Oh, gross." Beatrice groaned, stepping back. Sam dropped down beside them and he cast his gaze around the tunnel, spotting a pile of clothes discarded carelessly in a corner. "Looks like it's lived here a while." Beatrice muttered.
"Who knows how many murders it's gotten away with." Sam said, then jumped, startled. The Asian man from the crime scene was stood behind Dean. "Dean!" He yelled.
Dean turned, but was too slow, and was punched square in the face. Sam shot at it a few times as it made for an escape, but missed.
"Get the son of a bitch!" Dean yelled, clutching his bloody nose. Beatrice took off first after the shifter, closely followed by Sam and Dean. She scaled the ladder quickly but by the time she reached the surface, the street was empty.
"It got away." She said, disappointed.
"Alright. Let's split up." Sam said, coming up behind her.
"Okay. I'll meet you both round the other side." Dean nodded and left in the opposite direction.
After searching the streets for about ten minutes, Beatrice threw up her hands in frustration. "I quit! This thing is long gone by now." She said, visibly irritated.
Sam nodded. "I agree. We'll go find Dean."
"Looks like he found us," Beatrice said, nodding her head in the direction behind Sam. He turned to see Dean already approaching them.
"Hey." Dean said. "Anything?"
Beatrice shook her head. "No. He's gone."
"Alright. Let's get back to the car."
As they reached the Impala, Beatrice leaned against the side, waiting for Dean to unlock the doors. "You think he found another way underground?" Sam said, watching Dean carefully. Beatrice saw suspicion flash in his eyes, though she wasn't sure why.
Dean nodded. "Yeah, you got the keys?"
Sam took out the keys but didn't hand them over. "Hey, didn't Dad face a shapeshifter once in San Antonio?"
"Oh, that was Austin. It turned out not to be a shapeshifter, it was a thought form. A psychic projection. Remember?"
"Oh, right. Here you go." Sam tossed the keys to his brother, who smirked, opening the trunk. He laughed delightedly as though he’d never seen the arsenal before. "Don't move!"
Dean turned, scowling, to see Sam pointing a gun at his face. "What have you done with him?" Sam demanded.
"Sam, what the hell?" Beatrice cried, stumbling away from the car and out of the line of fire.
Dean held up his hands in mock surrender. "Dude, chill. It's me, alright?" He said coolly.
"No. I don't think so. Where's my brother?"
"Sam!" Beatrice said again, coming to his side and tugging on his arm, trying to encourage him to drop the gun.
"You're about to shoot me, Sam. Calm down." Dean said in an eerily calm voice.
"You caught those keys with your left hand," Sam said firmly, keeping his composure, "your shoulder was hurt."
"Yeah, it's better. What do you want me to do, cry?"
"You're not my brother."
"Why don't you pull the trigger, then? Hm? 'Cause you're not sure. Dude, you know me."
"Don't." Sam hissed. Dean paused, then in one swift movement, he swung his arm into the trunk and pulled out a crowbar which he hit Sam with twice. Sam’s legs gave way and he crumpled to the ground, a soft moan escaping from his lips before he fell completely still.
Beatrice's eyes widened in horror.
"Sam!" She cried. She tried to rush to his side but Dean grabbed her from behind, throwing her to the ground. She attempted to crawl away, but the Shifter grabbed her shoulder and rolled her onto her back. "Stay away from me, you sick son of a-" She started to warn him, but was cut off as the shapeshifter kicked her hard in the face and she felt her nose crack.
She threw up her hands in a feeble attempt to defend herself but when she did, the shifter flew backwards through the air and hit a car opposite. They stared at each other, stunned.
"What the hell are you?" It demanded, getting shakily back to its feet.
"I...I..." Beatrice trailed off, staring down at her still-outstretched hands. While she was distracted, the shifter pulled her up by her hair. "No, don't-" She begged, but despite her pleas, he dragged her towards the manhole cover and threw her in.
She landed with a harsh 'thud' on the ground and she cried out in pain, though she didn't think anything was broken. The shifter jumped down beside her, pulling a still unconscious Sam behind him.
When Beatrice tried to crawl away again he pressed his foot down on the back of her head, pinning her to the dank sewer floor. When he stepped back, there was a brief moment that Beatrice thought he might let her go, but then he hit her across the back of the head with the crowbar and everything went black.
When she woke up, Beatrice tried to look around, waiting impatiently for her eyes to adjust to the darkness of the sewer. "Sam?" She called. Her voice was hoarse and she ached everywhere. When she tried to move, her every joint and muscle screamed in protest.
"It's okay, Bea. I'm here. Dean's here too." She felt his hand on her own and realized they were tied back to back to a large wooden post, which was struggling to hold the roof up on its own.
"What happened?" She asked, craning her neck to try and look at him.
"The shifter kidnapped us," he explained. Beatrice figured he had already been awake for some time. "It's pretending to be Dean. It's on its way to Rebecca's right now."
Across the room by the opposite pole, Dean laughed triumphantly. "I'm out." He announced. The oldest Winchester got to his feet and rushed over to Sam and Beatrice. "Come on, we gotta go. He's probably at Rebecca's already."
As Dean cut his binds, Sam stood and started working at freeing Beatrice. When he was done he helped her up, flashing her a warm smile as she tried to rub some feeling back into her wrists. "You okay?" He asked.
Beatrice didn't know how to answer. She didn't think she could even begin to explain what had happened up on the surface after he'd been knocked out. Instead, she forced herself to smile and answered, "never better."
"Come on," Sam said, pulling Beatrice up out of the manhole, "we gotta find a phone. Call the police."
"Woah, woah. You're gonna put an APB on me!" Dean reminded him.
"This way!" Beatrice pointed, taking off down the street. She skidded, coming to a stop in front of a TV store. Her eyes flickered along the multiple panels of screens plastering the front of the shop.
'An anonymous tip led police to a home in Central West End, where S.W.A.T teams discovered a local woman bound and gagged. Her attacker, a white male, approximately twenty four to thirty years of age was discovered hiding in her home.' As the report played out, a rough police sketch of Dean flashed on the screen.
"Man! That's not even a good picture!" He complained.
Sam scowled at him. "It's good enough." He began walking, followed by Dean and Beatrice. He led them down a narrow back alley towards Rebecca's house. "They said attempted murder, at least we know-"
"I didn't kill her." Dean cringed.
"We'll check with Rebecca in the morning, make sure she's alright." Beatrice said.
"Alright. But first, I wanna find that handsome devil and kick the holy crap out of him."
They paused in the middle of the alley and Beatrice shot Dean a look. "We have no weapons. No silver bullets." She reminded him.
"Bea, the guy's walkin' around with my face, okay, it's a little personal. I wanna find him."
"Okay! Okay." Beatrice held up her hands in surrender.
"Where do we look?" Sam added, glancing between Dean and Beatrice.
"Well, we could start with the sewers."
"We have no weapons. He stole our guns, so we need more." Beatrice said. “The car?"
"I'm betting he drove over to Rebecca's." Dean cringed at the mental image of the shifter behind the wheel of the Impala.
"The news said he fled on foot. I bet it's still parked there."
"The thought of him driving my car..." Dean shuddered.
"Alright, come on." Sam patted Dean's shoulder and began walking again.
"It's killing me!"
"Let it go!" As they arrived at Rebecca's house, Dean's eyes lit up at the sight of the Impala, still parked outside like Beatrice had predicted.
"Oh, there she is! Finally, something went right tonight." Before they could reach the car, a police car pulled up beside Dean's, sirens blaring as it came to a halt. "Oh crap." They turned, ready to run, but another one pulled up just behind them, blocking their path directly. "This way!" Dean rushed towards a nearby fence, readying himself to climb over.
"You go." Sam said to his brother, glancing over at Beatrice.
"We'll hold them off," she promised Dean, who stared at them both like they'd gone insane.
"What are you talking about? They'll catch you!" Dean protested.
"Look, they can't hold us. Just go, keep out of sight. Meet us at Rebecca's." Beatrice insisted. Dean still looked hesitant but after a brief moment he nodded, beginning to climb the fence.
"Dean?" She called quickly after him. Dean glanced at her. "Stay out of the sewers alone." Choosing not to reply, the elder brother hopped over the fence. "I mean it!"
"Don't move! Keep your hands where I can see them!" The officer yelled, aiming a gun at Sam, then training it on Beatrice.
It wasn't long before the police released Sam and Beatrice after questioning, realizing they had nothing to offer them, and they made their way to Rebecca's. "So, say this shapeshifter is real," she said, replacing Sam's empty beer bottle with a fresh one, "by the way, you know you're crazy? How do you stop it?"
"Thanks." Sam sighed. "Silver bullet to the heart."
Rebecca laughed nastily and Beatrice felt her heart sink into her stomach. "You are crazy. Both of you." While Sam was distracted opening his new beer, she hit him over the head with the empty bottle, shattering it over his skull. He was knocked out immediately and he slumped, most of his large frame landing on Beatrice, who groaned loudly.
"You have got to be kidding me." She felt the bottle collide briefly with the back of her head, then for the second time that evening, everything went black.
The shifter smiled to itself as it finished tying Sam's hands and feet. It had, once again, taken on Dean's form. "What are you going to do to us?" Beatrice asked, struggling to prop herself up against the counter.
"Oh, I'm not gonna do anything," it told her, "Dean will, though."
"They'll never catch him." Sam said angrily.
"Doesn't matter. Murder in the first of his own brother and girlfriend? He'll be hunted for the rest of his life."
Beatrice rolled her eyes and despite herself, said, "I'm not his girlfriend!"
The shifter laughed. It crouched beside her, taking a knife and holding it beneath her chin. Her face fell and she lifted her head, struggling to keep her exposed neck away from the blade. "She's pretty, isn't she?" It cooed at Sam, who struggled violently against his restraints, "I wonder how pretty she'll look all torn up?"
"Don't touch her." He yelled, fighting to get to her, but he could only watch in horror as the shifter traced the knife around the contours of Beatrice's face.
"I'm going to kill her first. Make you watch."
"No!" Sam cried. "Don’t touch her!"
The shifter laughed, dropping her back to the floor. She cried out in relief. "I won't. Not yet. I want to have my fun first."
It grabbed Sam by the collar and dragged him into the living room, before returning for Beatrice. It dropped her onto the floor beside Sam and she found herself trying to inch a little closer to him. "I must say, I will be sorry to lose this skin. Your brother's got a lot of good qualities. You should appreciate him more than you do." The shifter poured itself a drink, and took a long sip. "Cheers." It picked up the knife, raising it high above its head but changed its mind and stabbed it into the corner of the pool table instead.
While the creature was distracted Sam kicked out with both legs, hard, sweeping the shifter's feet from under it and knocking it to the ground. As it started to recover Beatrice lunged at it, pinning it with her knees while she hit it in the face with her bound hands. Behind her, Sam cut the ropes binding his wrists with the knife it had plunged into the pool table.
The shifter managed to throw Beatrice off and she hit the wall where she stayed for a moment, dazed. It turned on Sam, grabbing his arm and twisting it behind his back, before throwing him to the ground and tightening its hands around his throat.
"Sam!" Beatrice cried. She came to her senses and stumbled to her feet, cutting through her own ropes in the same way that Sam had. She pulled the knife out of the table and whirled around, plunging it deep into the creature's shoulder.
The shifter laughed, releasing Sam so it could reach around its own body and pull out the knife. "The kitten has claws," it said, moving towards her, "you'd make a nice throw rug." It attempted to pin her to the sofa but behind them, Dean appeared in the doorway.
"Hey!" He yelled. Beatrice laughed in relief. He raised his pistol and shot the creature twice in the heart with the silver bullets. It collapsed, dead, on top of her. She groaned, shoving away the dead weight and getting to her feet. "Bea, you okay?" He asked. She nodded, albeit shakily. She stumbled towards Sam, kneeling by him as Rebecca rushed in after Dean.
"Sammy, are you alright?" Beatrice asked softly.
Sam smiled weakly up at her, and with a wink, croaked out, "never better."
"So, this is what you guys do?" Rebecca asked, crossing her arms as Beatrice climbed into the back of the Impala, holding a bag of frozen peas to her nose, "you hunt down these kind of things?"
"Yeah, pretty much." Sam smiled. Dean got into the front of the car, smiling fondly at Beatrice, who did her best to return the smile, but there was still a lot on her mind, and she found it difficult to let the smile reach her eyes. Dean noticed. Of course he did; Dean noticed everything.
"I can't believe it," Rebecca gushed, "I mean, I saw it with my own eyes. And I mean, does everyone at school, nobody knows you do this?"
"Did Jessica know?"
Sam smiled thoughtfully. "No, she didn't."
"Must be lonely." Rebecca said sadly.
Sam took a moment to glance back at Beatrice and Dean, who were busy arguing over which tape to play on the journey to their next case. "Oh, no. No, it's not so bad. Anyway, what can I do? It's my family."
"Well, you know. Zack and me, and everybody at school, we really miss you." Rebecca hugged Sam close to her.
"Yeah, me too."
They pulled away from one another and a comfortable silence settled among them both, before Rebecca broke it again. "Well... will you call sometime?"
"It might not be for a little while." Sam told her. Rebecca nodded and waved goodbye to Dean and Beatrice. She turned, and retreated back into the house. Sam walked over to the car.
"So, what about your friend, Zack?" Dean asked curiously as his brother got in shotgun.
"Cops are blaming this Dean Winchester guy for Emily's murder. They found the murder weapon in the guy's lair, Zack's clothes stained with her blood. Now they're thinking maybe the surveillance tape was tampered with. Yeah, Becca says Zack'll be released soon." Sam grinned, but his expression faltered when he glanced at Beatrice in the rear view mirror and saw the glassy look in her dark eyes. "Bea?" He said softly. She didn't respond at first. "Beatrice." He tried again.
Beatrice startled and her head snapped forward to face him. "Yeah?"
"Are you... okay?"
Beatrice forced another smile. "I'm fine. Why do you ask?"
Sam and Dean exchanged a glance. Though Dean had been driving, he pulled over and turned around in his seat to face her. "Alright, what's going on with you?" He asked firmly, "you've been off ever since the shifter kidnapped us. What the hell did he do to you?"
"It's not that," she said quickly, and then sighed heavily, "I'm... I'm fine. Okay? Just... drop it."
"I mean it, Dean," she said coldly.
Dean stared at her for a moment longer, and then turned around and started to drive again. They were on the highway before he spoke again, this time addressing Sam. "I'm sorry, man."
"About what?" Sam frowned.
"I really wish things could be different, you know? I wish you could just be... Joe College."
"No, that's okay. You know, the truth is, even at Stanford, deep down, I never really fit in."
"Well, that's 'cause you're a freak."
"Yeah, thanks." Sam scoffed.
"Well, I'm a freak too. So's Bea. We're right there with you, all the way." Dean grinned.
Sam laughed. "Yeah, I know you are."
"You know, I gotta say," Dean chuckled after a moment of silence, "I'm sorry I'm gonna miss it."
"Miss what?" Beatrice asked.
"How many chances am I gonna have to see my own funeral?"
Chapter 19: Home
Beatrice sat at the table in the motel room. She had a bowl of cereal in front of her, and she spooned mindlessly at it but her attention was drawn more to the book in her free hand. Dean was across from her at his laptop, while Sam was sitting on the bed on the other side of the room, drawing something Beatrice couldn't see in his little notebook.
"I can't believe you haven't noticed." Beatrice said suddenly after a moment, breaking the silence.
Dean looked up at her over the laptop. "Noticed what?"
"Uh..." Dean looked over at Sam across the room who shrugged as well, equally as clueless. "Did you... get a new sweater?"
Beatrice scowled at him. "I dyed my hair, Dean."
It seemed obvious when she pointed it out. Her shoulder length hair, that had been dirty blonde only the evening before, was now a chestnut-toned dark brown, and the evidence was still smeared up the bathroom walls where she had impulsively dyed it in the bathtub. "Oh!" Dean said. "It looks nice! Sam, don't you think it looks nice?"
"It does look nice," Sam agreed quickly.
Beatrice rolled her eyes, but a smile made its way onto her face regardless. "You are both such boys."
Dean laughed at that. "Alright, I've been cruising for some websites. i think I found a few candidates for our next gig. A fishing trawler found off the coast of Cali, its crew vanishes. And uh, we got some cattle mutilations in West Texas." He looked up at Beatrice, who was nodding mutely in response to him, and then over at Sam, who was no longer paying attention. "Hey, Sam. Am I boring you with this hunting evil stuff?"
"No, I'm listening," Sam assured him, though he still didn't look up, "keep going."
"And here, a Sacramento man shot himself in the head three times." He scowled. "Any of these things blowing up your skirt pal?"
Sam didn't respond. He was staring down at the picture he had been drawing. "Wait. I've seen this."
"Seen what?" Beatrice asked but Sam still didn't answer. He got up from the bed and crossed the room to where he had left his bag on the floor by the table Dean and Beatrice were sitting at. He dug into the bottom of the bag and emerged victorious with a family photo taken outside their childhood family home, probably only weeks before their mother died. "I know where we have to go next."
"Where?" Dean asked him, still puzzled by his brother's behaviour.
"Back home. Back to Kansas."
"Where'd that come from?"
"Alright, um, this photo was taken in front of our old house, right?" Sam said, placing the photo on the table in between Dean and Beatrice, "the house where Mom died?"
"Yeah," Dean nodded.
"And i didn't burn down, right? I mean, not completely. They rebuilt it."
"I guess so, yeah," Dean affirmed, still not quite following, "what the hell are you talking about?"
"Okay, look, this is gonna sound crazy, but... the people who live in our old house; I think they might be in danger."
"Why would you think that?" Beatrice asked, setting down her book on the table by the photo.
Sam shifted awkwardly, seemingly hesitant to answer her. "Uh... it's just, um... look, just trust me on this, okay?"
He picked up his bag from by the table and started packing his clothes hurriedly into it. Dean and Beatrice watched him, stunned. "Whoa whoa whoa, trust you?" Dean said, getting up from the table to follow Sam around the room.
"Yeah," Sam nodded.
"Come on, man. That's weak. You gotta give me a little bit more than that."
"I can't really explain it is all."
"Well, tough. I'm not going anywhere until you do."
Sam sighed heavily, dropping his back onto the edge of the bed. "I have these... nightmares."
"I've noticed," Dean scoffed.
"And sometimes... they come true."
Dean stared at him like he'd gone insane. Beatrice almost choked on her cereal. "Come again?" She said, dropping the spoon back into the bowl and splashing milk over the sides onto the table.
"Look, guys, I... I dreamt about Jessica's death, for days before it happened," Sam told them mournfully. He deliberately avoided Beatrice's eye because of course, she'd known that ever since the Bloody Mary case in Ohio. She hadn't, however, known the extent of it, or that the dreams had continued since then.
"Sam, people have weird dreams, man," Dean insisted, "I'm sure it's a coincidence."
"No, I dreamt about the blood dripping, her on the ceiling, the fire, everything. And I didn't do anything about it because I didn't believe it, and now I'm dreaming about that tree, about our house, and some woman inside screaming for help. I mean, that's where it all started, man, this has to mean something right?"
"I don't know," Dean said uncomfortably. He was visibly overwhelmed as he sat down on the bed beside Sam's bag.
"What do you mean you don't know, Dean?" Sam pressed, starting to lose his temper, "this woman might be in danger. I mean, this might even be the thing that killed Mom and Jessica!"
"Alright, just slow down, would you?" Dean snapped, getting back to his feet, "I mean, first you tell us that you've got The Shining, and then you tell me that I've gotta go back home? Especially when..." He trailed off, beginning to get choked up.
"When what?" Sam pressed.
Dean sighed heavily. "When I swore to myself that I would never go back there."
"Look, Dean," Sam said softly, dropping his hand onto his brother's shoulder, "we have to check this out. Just to make sure."
Dean sniffled as though holding back tears. Beatrice knew him well enough to know that was exactly what he was doing, and the sight broke her heart. He sighed again, rubbing his forehead tiredly before finally relenting. "I know we do. I just... need a minute." He stepped past Sam and Beatrice into the motel bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind him.
"Do you think he'll be okay?" Beatrice asked, a little anxiously.
Sam chewed his lip in thought. "I hope so."
Sam sat back on his bed where Dean had been sitting a moment before. Beatrice crossed the room and sat by him, gently putting her hand on his forearm. "You know... what happened to Jess wasn't your fault, Sam."
Sam's head snapped up towards her. She could see the faint tears glistening in his eyes. "I should have-"
"There was nothing you could have done," she said firmly, "alright? There was no way you could have known your dreams were anything more than that. You are not to blame."
Once one tear slipped past Sam's eyelids, the rest followed and he dropped his head to her shoulder where he cried silently into the seam of her shirt. "I just feel so guilty," he told her through gritted teeth, "I feel like I'm carrying this massive burden with me everywhere I go."
"You can let it go," Beatrice told him sincerely. She took his face in her hands and gently tilted his head up to look at her. "It's okay to let go, Sam."
Sam wiped his eyes with his sleeve. "I'm sorry," he told her softly, but she shook her head.
"Don't be," she said earnestly, offering him a gentle smile, "you have absolutely nothing to apologise for."
Sam hummed in response. "It's not just that," he said, "I feel guilty, because..." he trailed off and sighed, like he wasn't sure how to properly word the next part of his sentence, "because I feel as though I'm moving on. I still have so much anger, and I still love Jess, and... there's a part of me that always will, but... I could be ready to love again."
Beatrice nodded. She missed the brief look Sam flashed her. "And that's alright too," she assured him, giving his hand a light squeeze, "I'm sure Jess would want you to be happy, right? She wouldn't want you to be miserable for the rest of your life."
"You always know the right things to say," Sam said softly.
"Yeah, well, why do you think Dean's kept me around all this time?" She teased.
Despite himself, Sam laughed. "Alright, good point."
The bathroom door reopened and Dean appeared in the doorway. He still looked upset, but had managed to compose himself a little and he flashed them a weak smile. "You guys ready to go?" He asked them.
Beatrice nodded, answering for the both of them. "Absolutely."
The Impala pulled up outside the old Winchester family home. Sam and Beatrice moved to get out of the car, but Dean remained behind the wheel, his knuckles strained as he gripped it tightly. "Dean? Are you going to be okay?" Beatrice asked him gently.
"Let me get back to you on that," he mumbled, finally getting out of the car.
Beatrice exchanged an uneasy glance with Sam but then the two of them followed him up the front porch, where Dean knocked lightly on the door. Moments passed, and then a pretty, blonde woman answered the door. "Yes?" She said.
"Sorry to bother you, ma'am, but we're with the Federal-" Dean started to introduce them, but Sam quickly cut him off.
"I'm Sam Winchester. This is my brother Dean, and this is our friend Beatrice. Dean and I used to live here. You know, we were just driving by, and we were wondering if we could come see the old place," he said with a sweet smile.
"Winchester," the woman said, pondering over the name, "yeah, you know, that's so funny. I think I found some of your photos the other night."
Dean's face visibly lit up. "You did?"
She smiled and nodded. "Yeah. Come on in. I'm Jenny, by the way."
Jenny opened the door fully and the trio followed her through the entryway into the kitchen at the back of the house. A young girl was sitting at the table, doing homework, while a little toddler was jumping up and down excitedly in a playpen by his sister. "Juice! Juice! Juice!" He said excitedly upon his mother's return.
"That's Ritchie," Jenny laughed, "he's kin of a juice junkie. But hey, at least he won't get scurvy!" She passed the little boy a cup of juice from the fridge and then stood by her daughter, resting her hand lightly on her shoulder. "Sari, this is Beatrice, Sam and Dean. They used to live here."
"Hey, Sari," Sam said, giving her a little wave.
"So, you just moved in?" Beatrice asked conversationally.
"Yeah," Jenny affirmed, "from Wichita."
"You got family here, or...?"
"No, I uh... needed a fresh start, that's all. So, new town, new job... I mean, as soon as I find one. New house."
"So, how are you liking it so far?" Sam asked her.
"Well, uh... all due respect to your childhood home, I mean, I'm sure you had lots of happy memories here, but... this place has its issues."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it's just getting old," Jenny explained as she pottered about the kitchen, fixing the three of them a soda each, "like... the wiring, you know? We've got flickering lights almost hourly."
Beatrice exchanged a glance with Dean. "Oh, that's too bad," Dean said, trying to remain conversational, "what else?"
"Um, sink's backed up, there's rats in the basement... I'm sorry, I don't mean to complain."
"No, it's alright," Dean assured her quickly, "have you seen the rats or have you just heard scratching?"
"It's jsut the scratching, actually."
"Mom?" Sari said softly. She set down her pen on the table, "ask them if it was here when they lived here."
"What, Sari?" Sam asked her gently.
"The thing in my closet."
"Oh, no, Baby," Jenny said quickly, "there was nothing in their closet. Right?"
"Right," Sam assured the little girl, though his voice wavered, "no, no. Of course not."
"She had a nightmare the other night," Jenny explained with a weak smile.
"I wasn't dreaming!" Sari insisted emotionally, "it came into my bedroom, and... and it was on fire."
"Thank you for the soda, Jenny," Dean said suddenly, setting the empty glass on the table, "we'd better be going, now."
"Thank you for letting us in," Sam added with a smile, and he and Beatrice followed Dean back out onto the porch and down the street, away from the house. "You hear that?" Sam asked, jogging to catch up with his brother, "a figure on fire."
"And that woman, Jenny, that was the woman in your dreams?" Beatrice asked him.
"Yeah. And you hear what she was talking about? Scratching, flickering lights... both signs of a malevolent spirit."
"Yeah, well, I'm just freaked out that your weirdo visions are coming true," Dean said. He tried to force a smile, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. He knew the others had noticed how strained it was, but neither of them pointed it out to him.
"Forget about that for a minute," Sam insisted, "the thing in the house, do you think it's the thing that killed Mom and Jessica?"
"I don't know."
"Well, I mean, has it come back, or has it been here the whole time?"
"Or maybe it's something else entirely, Sam. We don't know yet."
"Well, those people are in danger," Beatrice cut in, breaking up the argument before it could even really happen. The last thing any of them needed was a Winchester blowout, and Beatrice in particular did not want to be caught in the middle. "We have to get them out of that house."
"And we will," Dean assured her.
"No, I mean now."
"And how are you gonna do that, huh?" He scoffed, causing her to roll her eyes. "You got a story that she's gonna believe?"
"Then what are we supposed to do, Dean?"
"We just gotta chill out, that's all," Dean shrugged as they reached a gas station at the bottom of the street, "you know, if this were any other kind of job, what would we do?"
"We'd try to figure out what we were dealing with," Sam sighed, "we'd dig into the history of the house."
"Exactly," Dean agreed, "except this time, we already know what happened."
"Yeah, but how much do we know?" Beatrice asked, "how much do you actually remember?"
"About that night, you mean?"
"Not much," he admitted, "I remember the fire, the heat..." he trailed off for a moment, then glanced across at Sam. The ghost of a sad smile played on his lips. "And then I carried you out the front door."
"You did?" Sam said. He seemed genuinely surprised by this revelation.
"Yeah. What, you never knew that?"
"Well, you know Dad's story as well as I do. Mom was... was on the ceiling. And whatever put her there was long gone by the time Dad found her."
"And he never had a theory about what did it?" Beatrice pressed gently.
Dean shrugged. "If he did, he kept it to himself. God knows we asked him enough times."
"Okay, so, if we're gonna figure out what's going on now, we have to figure out what happened back then," Beatrice said logically as she took a can of iced tea off the gas station shelf and carried it to the counter, "and see if it's the same thing."
"Yeah," Dean agreed, "we'll talk to Dad's friends, neighbors... people who were there at the time."
There was a pause. Sam looked at his brother with an unreadable expression on his face. "Does this feel like just another job to you?"
Dean didn't answer. Instead, he said, "I'll be right back. I gotta go to the bathroom."
He disappeared around the corner and Sam and Beatrice watched him go. Neither of them tried to stop him.
"So, you and John Winchester, you used to own this garage together?" Beatrice asked casually, watching as the mechanic worked tirelessly at the car in the middle of the garage.
"Yeah, we used to, a long time ago," he said, wiping the oil from his forehead with a rag. Beatrice didn't want to point out that the rag itself was filthy, and only left more oil on his face. He tossed it across the room into the trash. "Matter of fact, it must be uh... twenty years since John disappeared. So why the cops interested all of a sudden?"
"Oh, we're re-opening some of our unsolved cases, and the Winchester disappearance is one of them."
"Oh. Well, what do you want to know about John?"
"Whatever you remember," Dean said, "you know, whatever sticks out in your mind."
"Well..." the mechanic trailed off and laughed fondly at whichever memory was playing out in his mind. "He was a stubborn bastard, I remember that. And uh, whatever the game, he hated to lose. It's that whole Marine thing. But, oh, he sure loved Mary. And he doted on those kids."
"But that was before the fire?" Sam pressed. He was growing visibly uncomfortable with all the talk of his father and their childhood.
"That's right," the mechanic nodded.
"He ever talk about that night?"
"No, not at first. I think he was in shock."
"Right, but eventually? What did he say about it?"
"Oh, he wasn't thinking straight. He said something caused that fire and killed Mary."
"Did he ever say what did it?" Beatrice asked.
The mechanic sighed heavily and shook his head. "Nothing did it. It was an accident, an electrical short in the ceiling or walls or something. I begged him to get some help, but..."
"Oh, he just got worse and worse."
"How?" Dean pushed, growing even more desperate for answers.
"He started reading these strange old books. He started going to see this palm reader in town."
"Palm reader? Do you have a name?"
The mechanic scoffed, turning his attention back to his work. "No."
...I may have disappeared again.
I wish I had some sort of exciting excuse like I've been backpacking or kidnapped by jewel thieves or... literally anything but in reality I've just been picking up extra shifts at work and I'm tired a lot. Sucks to be an adult, I guess. But here's a chapter!
In other news I've been halfheartedly planning/working on a completely separate series which is kind of cool, and I'm probably going to publish it properly on here at some point so if you're into New Zealand and also Vampires, (hint hint), then that could be the story for you! Anyway, apologies again and here's a chapter a day earlier than scheduled to make up for it. Lots of love xoxo
"Alright, so there are a few psychic and palm readers in town," Beatrice told the brothers as she flicked through a phone book, her mouth half full of potato chips, "there's someone named El Divino. There's, uh.. there's the Mysterious Mister Fortinski, uh, Missouri Moseley-"
"Wait, wait," Dean cut her off, glancing over her shoulder at the phone book, "Missouri Moseley? That's a psychic?"
"Uh, yeah. I guess so."
Dean considered this for a moment. He stole a handful of Beatrice's chips and then got into the back of the Impala where he rummaged in his bag for John's journal. "In Dad's journal... here, look at this," when he'd found it, he turned the book around to show Sam and Beatrice, stabbing at the particular page with his index finger, "first page, first sentence. Read that."
"I went to Missouri and I learned the truth," Sam read aloud.
Dean shrugged. "I always thought he meant the state."
Beatrice looked back down at the phone book. "She doesn't live too far from here," she mused, "we should go."
Dean hummed in agreement. He swapped with Beatrice, climbing into the front of the car beside his brother while she got into the back. Missouri didn't live too far away, perhaps only a fifteen minute drive, but Beatrice hadn't fancied the walk.
As they pulled onto the street in front of the psychic's house, she was busy ushering a young man out the front door. "Alright there, don't you worry bout a thing," she assured him, "your wife is crazy about you!" She waved cheerfully at the man as he got into his car, but then as soon as he shut the door behind him, she turned to the trio and said, "whew. Poor bastard. His woman is cold-banging the gardener."
"Why didn't you tell him?" Dean asked her.
"People don't come here for the truth. They come for good news," Missouri smiled. "Well? Sam, Dean and Beatrice. Come on already, I ain't got all day." She stepped aside to let them in and they followed her into the entryway. "Well? Let me look at ya'. Oh, you boys grew up handsome!" She turned to Dean and added with a smirk, "and you were one goofy looking kid too. Beatrice, you look exactly how I pictured you. Oh, just like your sister! Sam... oh, Honey. I'm sorry about your girlfriend. And your father, he's missing?"
"How'd you know all that?" Sam asked, stunned.
Missouri chuckled. "Well, you were thinking it just now."
"Well, where is he?" Dean demanded, "is he okay?"
"I don't know."
"Don't know? Well, you're supposed to be a psychic, right?"
"Boy, you see me sawing some bony tramp in half? You think I'm a magician? I may be able to read thoughts and sense energies in a room, but I can't just pull facts out of thin air." She opened the door to her lounge and followed them in. "Sit, please," she said kindly, but her face dropped and she turned to Dean with a scowl, "boy, you put your foot on my coffee table, Im'a whack you with a spoon!"
"I didn't do anything!" Dean defended himself.
"But you were thinking about."
"Okay, so, our dad," Sam said, getting straight to business, "when did you first meet him?"
"He came for a reading a few days after the fire," Missouri told them, pouring them all a cup of tea each from a teapot in the corner of the room, "I just told him what was really out there in the dark. I guess you could say I drew back the curtains for him."
"What about the fire?" Dean pressed, accepting the teacup from her, "do you know what killed our mom?"
"A little," Missouri nodded, "your daddy took me to your house. He was hoping I could sense the echoes, the fingerprints of this thing."
"And could you? What was it?" Sam asked.
"I don't know," Missouri said softly. Her expression was haunted. "Oh, but it was evil. So... you think something is back in that house?"
"I don't understand."
"What?" Beatrice asked, lightly sipping her tea.
"I haven't been back inside, but I've been keeping an eye on the place, and it's been quiet," Missouri told her, sitting opposite them in an a large armchair, "no sudden deaths, no freak accidents... why's it acting up now?"
"I don't know," Sam sighed heavily, "but Dad going missing and Jessica dying and now this house all happening at once... it just feels like something's starting."
"That's a comforting thought," Beatrice mumbled.
Missouri chuckled. "Alright, I want to check out the house." She glanced across the room at Beatrice, then back at Sam and Dean, "boys, you go wait in the car. I want to speak to Beatrice."
Sam and Dean glanced at Beatrice but she deliberately avoided their gazes. They got up from the sofa and wordlessly made their way out to the Impala, leaving Beatrice alone with Missouri. "Alright, Beatrice Honey," Missouri said, crossing the room to sit on the sofa beside her, "there's something you want to ask me about, isn't there?"
Beatrice nodded. She was visibly trembling. Missouri placed a hand on her knee, urging to go on, and for a moment Beatrice found herself comforted. "Something... happened," she said in a hushed voice, almost ashamed to admit it, "a few weeks ago on a case, I... I did something. Something I didn't even know I could do."
Missouri nodded slowly. "I can sense real power in you, Beatrice," she told her.
"I don't understand what's happening to me," Beatrice said, beginning to get upset, "I'm scared."
"I know, Honey."
"Missouri, what the hell is wrong with me?"
"I don't know," Missouri sighed, "but I don't think there's anything to be afraid of."
Beatrice sniffled, wiping her eyes on the back of her sleeve. "Really?"
Missouri hummed in response. "I think your mother holds the key to the answers you're seeking."
That was enough to stun Beatrice almost into silence. "M-My Mom?"
Missouri nodded. She started to speak but the front door opened and Dean poked his head around the door to the lounge. "Are you two coming?" He asked, oblivious to the tension in the room.
"Boy, you are impatient as hell," Missouri chastised him, but she got up from the sofa regardless.
"What the hell was that about?" Dean asked Beatrice as she passed him on her way to the front door.
"Oh, just my sister. A message from beyond, you know the drill," she lied, with a weak smile. Dean raised an eyebrow but decided not to press her even further as she got into the back of the Impala beside Missouri. As they set off down the street, Dean continuously stole glances at Beatrice in the rear view mirror, trying to work out what the hell was on her mind, but she did her best to pretend she hadn't noticed him.
Instead, he exchanged a glance with his brother, who shrugged, equally as clueless. "O...kay?" Dean mumbled.
He pulled up outside the old Winchester house and parked on the sidewalk. The house was just as they'd left it, but the energy seemed... off, and they didn't need to be a psychic to say so. "This is super uncomfortable, right?" Beatrice said as she got out of the car, "like... it's not just me?"
"No, not just you," Missouri assured her. "Something is very, very wrong with this house."
The four of them made their way up the front porch towards the door and Beatrice knocked lightly. It was a long time before Jenny opened the door, and Beatrice was beginning to think she wasn't even in at all.
Eventually, though, she did answer and she peered around the door at them, a sobbing Ritchie balanced on her hip. "What are you doing here?" She asked, doing her best to console her son at the same time.
"Hey, Jenny, this is our friend Missouri," Sam said softly.
"If it's not too much trouble, we were hoping to show her the old house," Dean said, with none of Sam's tact, "you know, for old time's sake."
"You know, this isn't a good time," Jenny told them, visibly flustered, "I'm kind of busy."
"Listen Jenny, it's important-" Dean started, but Missouri smacked him around the back of the head. "Ow!"
"Give the poor girl a break!" Missouri chastised him, "can't you see she's upset? Forgive this boy, he means well, he's just not the sharpest tool in the shed. But hear me out."
Jenny opened the door a little wider. She looked uneasily at Missouri. "About what?"
"About this house."
"What are you talking about?"
"I think you know what I'm talking about. You think there's something in this house, something that wants to hurt your family," Missouri said with increasing urgency, "am I mistaken?"
Jenny swallowed hard, almost as though to calm her rising nerves. "Who are you?"
"We're people who can help, who can stop this thing. But you're going to have to trust us, just a little."
Jenny still looked unsure, so Beatrice cut in. "Jenny, your daughter mentioned maybe seeing something in her bedroom. Is there a chance we could come in and take a look?"
"Y-Yes," Jenny agreed after a moment, stepping to one side, "okay."
"Thank you, Honey," Missouri said earnestly, and she led the others inside.
As promised, a new Sunday chapter!
I'm really excited to start exploring Sam and Beatrice's blossoming relationship a little further from here. Aren't they just the cutest? As always, please feel free to leave any comments, I always look forward to reading them! And thank you again for all the kudos and love left on this silly little story, it really makes eight years of work feel truly worth it.
"If there's a dark energy around here, this room should be the centre of it," Missouri said, standing by Sari's closet in her bedroom.
"Why?" Sam asked.
"This used to be your nursery, Sam. This is where it all happened," Missouri told him. Sam's face fell and he glanced up at the ceiling. Across the room, Dean pulled out an EMF detector. "That an EMF?" Missouri asked. Dean nodded and she scoffed. "Amateur. I don't know if you boys should be disappointed our relieved, but this ain't the thing that took your mom."
"Wait, are you sure?" Sam said, stunned, "how do you know?"
"It ain't the same energy I felt the last time I was here," she explained, "it's somethin' different."
"What is it?" Beatrice asked, but Missouri shook her head.
"Not it. Them." She opened Sari's closet and peered inside, though somewhat tentatively, "there's more than one spirit in this place."
Beatrice exchanged an uneasy glance with the brothers. "What are they doing here?" She asked Missouri.
"They're here because of what happened to the Winchesters. You see, all those years ago, real evil came to you boys. It walked this house. That kind of evil leaves wounds. And sometimes, wounds get infected."
"I don't understand," Sam said softly.
"This place is a magnet for paranormal energy," Missouri elaborated, "it's attracted a poltergeist. A nasty one. And it won't rest until Jenny and her babies are dead."
"You said there was more than one spirit," Sam pressed.
"There is," Missouri affirmed, "I just can't quite make out the second one."
"Well, one thing's for damn sure, nobody's dying in this house ever again," Dean said fiercely, "so, whatever is here, how do we stop it?"
Sam, Dean, Beatrice and Missouri crowded around the small circular table in Missouri's kitchen. She was just finishing laying out a handful of different herbs and roots, none of which Beatrice recognised. "What is all this stuff?" She asked.
"Angelica Root, Van Van Oil, crossroad dirt, a few other odds and ends," Missouri told her.
"Yeah?" Dean said, "what are we supposed to do with it?"
"We're gonna put them inside the walls in the north, south, east, west corners on each floor of the house."
"We'll be punching holes in the dry wall," Dean scoffed, "Jenny's gonna love that."
Missouri smiled slyly at them. "She'll live."
"And this'll destroy the spirits?" Sam asked, ignoring his brother.
"It should. It should purify the house completely. We'll each take a floor. But we work fast. Once the spirits realise what we're up to, things are gonna get bad."
Beatrice bundled the herbs and roots into her rucksack and the group made the short drive back to Jenny's house. She was already waiting for them on the porch, with Ritchie in his stroller and Sari lingering shyly behind her. "Look, I'm not sure I'm comfortable leaving you guys here alone," she said to them as they made their way up the path towards the house.
"Just take your kids to the movies or something, and it'll be over by the time you get back," Missouri assured her. Jenny still looked uneasy, but she nodded once and stepped past them, ushering her kids towards the car. "Alright, Sam and Beatrice, you take upstairs. I'll head into the basement, and Dean, you handle the ground floor."
"Got it," Beatrice answered. She followed Sam into the house and up the stairs. "I'll take Sari's room," she offered.
"You sure?" Sam asked, a little surprised.
"Yeah," Beatrice nodded, "you... went through enough in there."
Sam nodded and flashed her a small smile, visibly thankful for the gesture. He reached out and gave her hand a small squeeze, missing the way her cheeks flushed red when he did. Beatrice returned the smile, albeit weakly, and made her way down the hall towards Sari's bedroom. "Alright, you ugly Bastard," she mumbled to herself, twirling the hammer Dean had given her in her left hand, "let's go."
She crouched in the corner of the room and took to the wall with the hammer, knocking a large hole into the near immaculate plaster work. Behind her, the closet door rattled and she stopped, her hand freezing midway to carrying the bag of herbs to the hole. "Oh, that isn't good."
She turned, ever so slowly, to look over her shoulder, in time for Sari's bedside table to fly across the room and slam into her back. Beatrice fell forward, smacking her face on the wall on the way down. "Jesus!" She cried. She rolled onto her back and kicked the table back towards the bed. She snatched up the herbs from the carpet where she had dropped them and stuffed them into the hole. As she did, there was a flash of light, and whatever had been harassing her disappeared.
"Son of a bitch," she grumbled. She started to get to her feet but there was a crash in Jenny's bedroom across the hall. She cursed under her breath and sprinted into the room to see Sam on the floor, half conscious as the cord from a lamp wrapped tightly around his throat. There were faint scratch marks on the cord where he had clearly tried to fight it off, but it was obvious the poltergeist had the upper hand.
"Sam!" Beatrice cried. She rushed to him and tried to pull the cord off herself, but it was stuck so tightly to his neck that she could barely get her fingers underneath it. She swore again and staggered to her feet. She raised her hammer high above her head and slammed it into the wall with impressive speed. She took the bag of herbs from Sam's pocket and practically threw it into the wall.
There was the familiar flash of light, and behind her, the cord around Sam's neck loosened. Beatrice kneeled by him and unwrapped it with shaking hands, helping him to sit when she was done. "Don't scare me like that!" She cried, throwing her arms ungraciously around him.
Sam caught her, wrapping his own arms around her waist. "Hey, it's okay," he assured her, though his voice trembled, "I'm okay."
Beatrice parted from the hug. Her eyes shone with tears and Sam's heart broke a little. His gaze met hers and then his hazel eyes flickered down to her lips. Beatrice's breath hitched. She found herself starting to lean in but as she did, Dean's voice came from downstairs and she jerked back, startled.
"You guys okay up there?" Dean yelled from the foot of the stairs.
"Yeah, fine," Beatrice called back.
"Alright, great," he said, "let's get the hell out of here."
"Alright," Dean said tiredly from the driver's seat of the Impala, "so tell me again, what are we still doing here?"
Sam didn't look at his brother. He was sitting in the passenger seat of the car, looking up through the night at the Winchester house. "I don't know," he admitted after a moment, "I just... I still have a bad feeling."
"Why?" Dean pressed through a yawn, "Missouri did her whole Zelda Rubenstein thing. The house should be clean. It should be over."
"Yeah, well, probably," Sam agreed, "but I just wanna make sure, that's all."
"Yeah. Well, problem is I could be sleeping in a bed right now." Dean grumbled. He slid down a little further in his seat and closed his eyes, causing Beatrice in the back seat to giggle.
She started to follow Dean's lead, resting her head against the window to try and get a little shut-eye herself, but something in the upstairs window caught her eye and she bolted upright again, her heart racing. "Guys? Guys, look!"
Both brothers whipped around to look at what Beatrice had seen. Jenny was in the upstairs window, screaming in fear, just like Sam had described to the pair of them in his dream. "Grab the kids, I'll get Jenny," Dean instructed them urgently as they got out of the car.
Sam and Beatrice didn't need to be told twice. They both sprinted up the stairs, very nearly tripping over one another, and as they reached the top they split up; Beatrice heading towards Ritchie's room, and Sam to Sari's. Ritchie was stood in his crib, sobbing heavily as he clutched a little knitted blanket. "Hey, little one, it's okay," Beatrice soothed him as she scooped him up beneath his armpits and balanced him on her hip.
She met Sam out on the hallway. Sari was cowering behind his leg. "Alright, let's go," Sam said. He grabbed Sari's wrist with one hand, and Beatrice's arm with the other, and practically dragged her and the two children down the stairs towards the front door.
As they reached the entryway, something crashed loudly in the lounge behind them and Sam dropped Sari's wrist. "Bea, get them out of here," he instructed her firmly.
"What?" She said, her eyes wide, "Sam, what are you-"
Beatrice was too stunned to argue. She picked up Sari's arm and took her and her little brother outside. They stepped into the front yard in time to see through the window, the poltergeist drag Sam into the kitchen. "Sam!" Beatrice cried. She started back towards the front door but before she could reach it, it slammed in her face. "No!" She gasped, banging violently on it, "no, no no no. Sam!"
"Bea, what's going on?" Dean asked her breathlessly as behind them, Jenny was reunited with her children.
"It's got Sam," she told him, terrified, "Dean, I can't open the door!"
Dean seemed to consider this for a moment and then he rushed back to the Impala, pulling out one of the axes they had used earlier in the day to break through in the walls. He motioned for Beatrice to get back, which she did, as he raised the axe high above his head and slammed it into the door, Jack Nicholson style.
As soon as he had made a hole big enough, Beatrice pushed her hand through and opened the door from the inside, sprinting into the kitchen where she found Sam telepathically pinned to the wall, while the flaming figure from Sari's nursery stood opposite him.
Behind Beatrice, Dean automatically lifted his gun at the sight of the spirit. "No, don't!" Sam said quickly, "don't!"
"What, why?" Dean demanded.
"Because I know who it is. I can see her now."
As Sam said that, the flames subsided, and instead of a terrifying, horror movie esque figure, the spirit of Mary Winchester was standing in the kitchen in her nightgown, exactly as she had been the night she died. "Mom?" Dean said softly, his grip on the gun wavering.
"Dean," Mary beamed. She glided towards her eldest son and placed a gentle hand on his cheek, before making her way over to Sam. "Sam," she said softly, and her smile faded a little, "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Sam asked, stunned.
Mary smiled sadly, but said nothing. She glanced over at Beatrice and offered her a warm smile, before looking up towards the ceiling with a fierce look on her face. "You get out of my house. And let go of my son!"
The fire crept back up her ankles towards the top of her head, and then towards the ceiling. As Sam was dropped from the wall, both Mary and the oppressive spirit disappeared. "Sam? Sam, are you alright?" Beatrice panicked, rushing to help him up.
Sam looked up at her, stunned. "It's over."
Chapter 23: Asylum
If you read the last couple of chapters then you know I'm working on a new series at the minute. Well, exciting news; I'm planning on publishing the first chapter here in the next couple of weeks! I'm super excited about it and I think if you're enjoying this series, then you'll really enjoy that one too, so watch out for that. Anywho, here's the new chapter! Enjoy xoxo
Beatrice was awoken from her light slumber by the sound of Sam talking on the phone. His voice was soft, but it had still been enough to tear her from her otherwise peaceful sleep. "No, Dad was in California last we heard fro him. We just thought... he comes to you for ammunition, maybe you've seen him in the last few weeks. Just call us if you hear anything. Thanks." Sam sighed heavily and as he hung up, dropping the phone onto the table.
"Caleb hasn't heard from him?" Dean asked, though he knew the answer already.
"Nope. And neither has Jefferson, or Pastor Jim. What about the journal? Anything leads in there?"
"No. Same as last time I looked. Nothing I can make out.. I love the guy, but I swear, he writes like friggin' Yoda."
"Morning." Beatrice yawned, sitting up in bed.
Sam jumped near enough out of his skin. "Bea, you scared the crap out of me!"
"Sorry." She giggled, then her expression became serious. "You know, maybe we should call the feds, file a missing person's report." She looked between Sam and Dean, but neither of them appeared thrilled with the suggestion.
"We've talked about this," Dean reminded her tiredly, "Dad'd be mad if we put the feds on his tail."
Beatrice rolled her eyes. "I don't care anymore."
Across the room from them, a phone rang loudly and Dean got up from the table to answer it. "You know, he could be dead for all we know," Beatrice added cautiously as she watched him search for the phone. It was a risky thing to say, and Beatrice knew she was seriously pushing her luck judging by the fierce glare on Dean's face.
"Don't say that!" He snapped. "He's not dead, he's... he's..."
"He's what? He's hiding? He's busy?" Beatrice countered sarcastically.
Dean ignored her, opening the phone when he had finally located it in the pockets of the jeans he had been wearing the day before. "Huh," he said, a small smile creeping onto his lips, "I don't believe it."
"What?" Beatrice frowned. She got out of bed and moved towards him, trying to see the screen over his shoulder.
"It's uh, it's a text message. Coordinates." He said triumphantly, waving the phone in her face.
"Oh, cut it out." She lightly slapped his hand away from her.
"You think Dad was texting us?" Sam asked, choosing to pretend he hadn't noticed their bickering as Dean typed away on his laptop.
"He's given us coordinates before," Dean shrugged.
"The man can barely work a toaster, Dean." Beatrice reminded him.
"It's good news!" Dean insisted, "it means he's okay, or alive, at least."
"Well, was there a number or caller ID?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Nah, it said unknown."
"Where do the coordinates point?"
"That's the interesting part. Rockford, Illinois."
"Okay," Beatrice glanced over at Sam but he shrugged, clueless. She turned back to Dean. "And that's interesting... how?"
"I checked the local Rockford paper. Take a look at this." He turned the laptop screen around to show them the digital copy of the paper. "This cop, Walter Kelly, comes back from his shift, shoots his wife then puts the gun in his mouth. Blows his brains out," Dean told them eagerly, "and earlier that night, Kelly and his partner responded to a call at the Roosevelt asylum." He looked at them, anticipating their reaction.
"Okay, I'm not following," Sam said, "what has this have to do with us?"
"Dad earmarked the very same asylum in the journal. Let's see.." He leafed through the journal before handing it to Sam. Beatrice sat beside him on the edge of the bed to look. Dean sat on his other side, flicking through the journal for him, evidently deciding he wasn't moving fast enough. "Here. Seven unconfirmed sightings, two deaths. Till last week, at least. I think that's where he wants us to go."
"This is a job... Dad wants us to work a job." Sam said in disbelief.
"Well, maybe we'll meet up with him. Maybe he's there!" Dean said, unable to mask his excitement.
Sam and Beatrice exchanged an uneasy glance. "Maybe he's not," Beatrice said softly, reluctant to be too much of a killjoy, particularly when she saw the way Dean's eyes had lit up, "I mean, he could be sending us there, by ourselves, to hunt this thing."
"Who cares?" Dean snapped, starting to get frustrated with them, "if he wants us there, that's good enough for me."
"This doesn't strike you as weird? The texting? The coordinates?" Sam said.
"Sam! Dad's telling us to go somewhere. We're going."
"You're Daniel Gunderson," Dean strolled up to the cop who was sitting by himself at the bar. Beatrice and Sam observed quietly from the other side, waiting for Dean's signal. Dean sat by Daniel, pretending he didn't notice the sour look he gave him. "You're a cop, right?"
Daniel frowned, but appeared to choose to humour him regardless. "Yeah."
"Huh. I'm um, Nigel Tufnel, The Chicago Tribune. Mind if I ask you a couple of questions about your partner?"
"Yeah, I do. I'm just trying to have a beer, here."
"That's okay, I swear it won't take that long. I just want to get the story in your words."
"A week ago , my partner was sitting in that chair and now he's dead. You 'gonna ambush me here?" He demanded.
"Sorry, but I need to know what happened." Dean's eyes flickered up to Sam and Beatrice and they took it as their cue to storm over. Sam gave him a push, practically knocking him off his stool.
"Hey, buddy, why don't you leave the poor guy alone?" Sam snapped.
"The man's an officer," Beatrice went on, "why don't you show a little respect?"
Dean scowled at them, gave Sam a little push in return as they had planned, but then he stormed out of the bar. "You didn't have to do that," Daniel told them softly, but he was visibly relieved.
"Yeah, of course we did. That guy's a serious jerk. Let me buy you a beer, huh?" Sam glanced over at the barman. "Three?"
Daniel smiled weakly. "Thanks."
Around half an hour later, Sam emerged from the bar, Beatrice not far behind. Dean scowled at them both, leaning back against the hood of the Impala. "Shoved me kinda hard in there, buddy boy."
Sam laughed. "I had to sell it, didn't I?"
"It's method acting," Beatrice grinned, but Dean looked at her cluelessly. She rolled her eyes. "Never mind."
"What'd you find out from Gunderson?"
"So, Walter Kelly was a good cop. Head of the class, even keeled. He had a bright future ahead of him." Sam replied, getting in shotgun while Beatrice climbed in the back.
"What about at home?" Dean asked, waking up the engine.
"He and his wife had a few fights, like everybody, but he was mostly smooth sailing. They were even talking about having kids." Beatrice said, making eye contact with Dean in the rear view mirror.
"Alright, so either Kelly had some deep-seated crazy waiting to bust out, or something else did it to him." Dean mused.
Beatrice hummed in agreement. "Right."
"What'd Gunderson tell you about this asylum?"
"A lot." Beatrice said. She glanced over at the bar as Daniel stepped out onto the street. "We should go."
The long awaited 24th chapter is here! I've been re-editing upcoming chapters (again) and now feel ready to continue publishing. I also published a new fic yesterday, 'To Stare Into the Face of God, and Know What he Has Planned', a Squid Game fic featuring around my OC Seo-yeon and her relationship with Gi-hun as they enter into the games together. I *also* also have that 'What We Do in the Shadows' fic that I promised coming very soon.
I think that's covered about everything! For now, please enjoy chapter 24!
The red bricked asylum loomed over the derelict street as the trio advanced upon it. Ivy crawled up the side of the wall, making grotesque faces that leered at them from in between the brick, and from the walls, pieces of plaster crumbled away and drifted to their feet. "You need a hand?" Sam asked, glancing at Beatrice in bemusement as she attempted, (and failed horribly), to climb over the chain link fence into the yard.
Beatrice grinned sheepishly at him. "Please."
Sam lifted her onto his shoulder with unsurprising ease and she used the extra leverage to pull herself up over the fence, waiting patiently for the two brothers to follow suit. "So, apparently the cops chased the kids here, into the south wing." She told them, pointing to a rusty sign above one of the doors.
"South wing, huh? Wait a second." Dean paused for a moment to flip through John's journal. "1972, three kids broke into the south wing, only one survived. Way he tells it, one of his friends went nuts and started lighting up the place."
"So whatever's going on, the south wing is the heart of it." Sam concluded.
"But if the kids are spelunking the asylum, why aren't there a ton more deaths?" Beatrice asked.
"Looks like the doors are usually chained," Sam pointed out to her, "could've been chained up for years."
"Yeah, to keep people out," Dean grinned, "or to keep something in."
Sam rolled his eyes. He moved ahead and pushed open the doors, holding them open for Beatrice to go in first. This didn't go unnoticed by Dean, who smirked knowingly at his brother as he passed him, before calling back, "let me know if you see any dead people, Hayley Joel."
"Dude, enough." Sam sighed, already exhausted with his brother's teasing.
"I'm serious. You gotta be careful, alright? Ghosts are attracted to that whole ESP thing you got going on."
"I told you. It's not ESP! I just have... strange vibes sometimes. Weird dreams."
"Yeah, whatever. Don't ask, don't tell."
"You get any reading on that thing, or not?" Sam cut in, eager to change the subject.
"Of course," Dean said, showing her the EMF detector he had been holding, "but it doesn't mean no one's home."
"Spirits can't appear during certain hours of the day." Beatrice reminded him.
"Yeah. The freaks come out at night."
"Hey, Sam?" Dean said. Sam sighed heavily, visibly steeling himself for more of Dean's teasing, "who do you think is the hotter psychic? Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt, or you?"
Sam rolled his eyes, giving Dean's shoulder a little shove. Dean laughed delightedly. They followed Beatrice into another room on the corridor, which was filled with all sorts of strange machines and medical contraptions. Dean whistled, almost impressed. "Man. Electro-shock, lobotomies... they did some twisted stuff to these people," he broke off into a cheeky grin, and added, "kinda like my man Jack, in Cuckoo's nest."
"So, what do you think? Ghosts possessing people?" Beatrice suggested to Sam as both of them ignored Dean.
"Maybe," Sam agreed, "or maybe it's more like Amityville, or the Smurl Hunting."
"Spirits driving them insane," Dean cut back in, "kinda' like my man Jack, in the Shining."
"Dean..." Sam sighed, glancing over at his brother, "when are we going to talk about it?"
Dean's face fell. He knew what Sam was thinking of before he even said it, but regardless, asked, "talk about what?"
"About the fact Dad's not here."
"Oh, I see. How about... never?"
"I'm being serious, man. He sent us here-"
"So am I, Sam," Dean interrupted, "look, he sent us here, he obviously wants us here. We'll pick up the search later."
"It doesn't matter what he wants." Sam spat.
"See, that attitude right there? That is why I always get the extra cookie." Dean tried to joke but Sam didn't look impressed.
"Dad could be in trouble, and we should be looking for him. We deserve some answers, Dean. I mean, this is our family we're talking about!" Sam was beginning to lose his temper and Beatrice could see it from a mile away. She stepped forward, placing a hand on his bicep. The small action immediately calmed him.
Dean sighed, defeated. "I understand that, Sam. But he's given us an order."
"So, what?" Sam scoffed, "we always gotta follow Dad's orders?"
"Of course we do." Dean said in a final sort of way, and they all knew that was the end of the conversation, for the time being at least. He moved away from Sam and Beatrice, inspecting a half rotten old sign hung up on the wall. "Sanford Ellicott," he read aloud, "you know what we gotta do? We gotta find out more about the South Wing. See if something happened here." Dean walked away, leaving Sam and Beatrice alone in the room. She shuddered and ran after Dean, Sam soon to follow.
Dean leaned against the glass window next to the door of the psychiatrist's reception. Beatrice was sitting opposite by the water cooler, flicking through one of the glossy fashion magazines provided, though it did little to capture her attention. It felt like hours before Sam emerged from the office, wearing a triumphant smile.
"Dude, you were in there forever! What the hell were you talking about?" Dean demanded.
"Just the hospital, you know." Sam said casually. He stepped out of the waiting room into the street, leaving Dean and Beatrice to jog after him. "And the South Wing? It's where they housed the really hard cases. Psychotics, the criminally insane."
"Sounds cosy," Beatrice scoffed.
"Yeah. And one night, in 64, they rioted, attacked staff, attacked each other..."
"So the patients took over the asylum?" Dean asked.
Sam nodded. "Apparently."
"Some patients, some staff," Sam explained grimly, "I guess it was pretty gory. Some of the bodies were never even recovered, including our chief of staff, Ellicott."
"What do you mean, 'never recovered'?" Beatrice asked, though she wasn't sure she was going to like the answer.
"Cops scoured every inch of the place, but I guess the patients must have stuffed the bodies somewhere hidden."
"That's grim." Beatrice cringed. Yeah. She definitely did not like that answer.
"Yeah," Sam agreed, "so, they transferred all the remaining patients and closed the hospital down."
"So, to sum it up, we've got a bunch of violent deaths and a bunch of uncovered bodies." Dean sighed.
"And a bunch of angry spirits." Beatrice added.
"Good times," Dean nodded. "Let's check out the hospital tonight."
Sam stepped up to the entrance of the Asylum's south wing and pushed open the door with a loud creak, causing him to cringe. He went in, followed closely by Dean and Beatrice. He was carrying a night vision video camera, while Beatrice manned the flashlight, and Dean took charge of the EMF detector. "Getting any readings?" Beatrice asked him.
"Yeah, big time." Dean nodded.
"This place is orbing like crazy." Sam said quietly, staring at the screen of the camera as he walked.
"Probably multiple spirits out and about." Beatrice said, "and if these uncovered bodies are causing the haunting..."
"We gotta find them and burn them," Dean finished for her, "just be careful, though. The only thing that makes me more nervous than an angry spirit, is the angry spirit of a psycho killer." He laughed, going ahead without them.
Sam chuckled, mostly humouring his brother. He turned his focus back to the camera, Beatrice peering over his shoulder to see the screen too. Both of them cried out. A woman with white hair and an empty eye socket was stood in front of them, reaching out for them. Sam dropped the camera and to his horror, she was still in front of them. "Dean?" Sam called, but there was no reply.
"DEAN!" Beatrice screamed, backing up into the wall. Dean ran back into the corridor from one of the offices, and she looked urgently at him, past the woman, with wide, frightened eyes. "Shotgun!"
"Get down!" Dean yelled. Sam dropped to the floor, pulling Beatrice down with him while Dean fired a salt round at the woman, who disappeared with a shriek.
Beatrice looked up, breathless. "That was... weird," she said shakily.
"Yeah, you're telling me," Dean said, reaching to help them both up.
"No, Dean. I mean it was weird she didn't try to attack us."
Dean didn't look convinced. "Looked pretty aggro from where I was standing."
"She didn't hurt us," Sam insisted, "she didn't even try. So if she didn't want to hurt us, what did she want?"
No sooner than Sam had finished talking, a small crash came from inside the room beside them, the noise echoing past the steel door. Beatrice froze, glancing towards the brothers who both appeared on edge.
'On the count of three', Dean mouthed. He pressed his shoulder up against the door and held his breath, ready to face whatever horrors were waiting inside.
"Are you kidding me?" Beatrice yelled, coming face to face with a teenage girl, maybe only two or three years younger than her. The girl stared back at her, terrified, and Beatrice sighed, softening slightly. "It's alright, we're not going to hurt you. It's okay. What's your name?"
"Katherine. Kat." The girl whispered back, her eyes wide.
"Okay," Beatrice sighed again, "I'm Beatrice, this is Sam, and this is Dean."
"What are you doing here?" Sam asked her, lowering his gun.
Kat shrugged. "Um, my boyfriend, Gavin." She admitted sheepishly.
"Is he here?" Beatrice frowned.
"Somewhere. He thought it'd be fun, try and see some ghosts. I thought it was all just... you know. Pretend. I've seen things. I heard Gavin scream, and..." She trailed off, clearly terrified.
"Alright. Kat, come on. Sam and Bea are going to get you out of here, and then we're going to find your boyfriend." Dean assured her, but Kat shook her head stubbornly.
"No! No. I'm not going to leave Gavin. I'm coming with you."
"It's no joke around here, okay? It's dangerous." Beatrice warned her, but she couldn't help but admire her bravery regardless.
Kat nodded, seeming to understand quickly. "That's why I've got to find him."
"Alright. I guess we're going to split up, then. Let's go." Dean said as he helped Kat to her feet. "Sam, you and Bea tackle that way, Kat and I will go this way." Dean said. He took Kat's arm and led her out of the room.
Beatrice glanced at Sam, hopeful he hadn't noticed her cheeks flushing red in the darkness. "Guess it's just you and me," she said with a smile, turning her flashlight back on.
"Yeah. I guess it is," he grinned back.
The two of them went out into the corridor. The entire place was abandoned. The asylum had been eerie during the day, but under the cover of night, it was terrifying. "Gavin?" Beatrice called, aiming her light towards one of the open doors, "hello, Gavin?"
"Bea, in here!" Sam called across the corridor. Beatrice jogged over to him.
He was standing in the open doorway of one of the wards. Sprawled on the floor by one of the beds was a teenage boy, a boy Beatrice could only assume was Gavin. "Nice work," Beatrice commended Sam.
He crouched on the ground by the boy, gently shaking his shoulder. The boy startled awake, almost headbutting Sam as he bolted upright. "Whoa, hey, Gavin. It's okay," Sam assured him quickly, "we're here to help."
"Who are you?" Gavin asked shakily, letting Sam help him to his feet.
"My name is Sam, and this is Bea," Sam glanced back at Beatrice who gave Gavin a little wave. "We found your girlfriend."
"Kat?" Panic passed over Gavin's face again. "Is she okay?"
"Yeah, but she's worried about you," Beatrice said, "are you okay?"
"I was running. I think I fell."
"You were running from what?" Sam pressed lightly.
"There was..." Gavin trailed off and swallowed hard. "There was this girl. Her face, it... it was all messed up."
Sam and Beatrice exchanged a glance. "Okay, listen," Beatrice said seriously, "did this girl... did she try and hurt you?"
"What? No, she uh..." Gavin trailed off again, this time looking embarrassed.
"She... what?" Beatrice pressed.
Gavin sighed heavily, visibly deflating. "She... kissed me."
"Oh," Sam said awkwardly, "but, um... but she didn't try and hurt you physically?"
"Dude, she kissed me! I'm scarred for life."
"Well, trust me. It could have been worse," Sam chuckled, "now, do you remember anything else?"
"She uh..." Gavin's face twisted in thought, "actually, she tried to whisper something in my ear," he concluded eventually.
Beatrice raised an eyebrow, "what did she say?"
"I don't know! I ran like hell!"
The three of them started back out into the corridor but from somewhere across the asylum, there came a high pitched scream. "Jesus!" Beatrice yelled, near enough jumping out of her skin at the sound of a second scream. "It's coming from down here, come on!" She took off down the corridor and left Sam and Gavin to rush after her.
They found Dean on the opposite side of the asylum, pounding urgently on the door to a supply closet. "What's going on?" Sam asked.
"She's inside with one of them," Dean explained hastily before going back to pounding on the door.
"Help me!" Kat screamed inside the closet.
"Kat!" Gavin cried.
"Get me out of here!"
"Kat, it's not going to hurt you," Sam promised her, though Beatrice didn't think he sounded one hundred percent confident about it, "listen to me. You've got to face it. You've got to calm down."
"I have to what?" Kat screamed through the door, astonished.
"These spirits, they're not trying to hurt us. They're trying to communicate. You've got to face it. You've got to listen to it!"
"You face it!"
"No, it's the only way to get out of there," Sam insisted.
"Look at it. Come on, you can do it." Sam encouraged her.
There was silence. The group exchanged an anxious glance. "Kat?" Gavin said shakily, but there was no response.
"Man, I hope you're right about this," Dean muttered.
"Yeah, me too." Sam said back.
They stood outside the door in tense silence for what felt like hours, but in reality could have only been a matter of seconds. But as Sam had assured, the door swung open, and Kat appeared in the doorway, visibly shaken but otherwise okay. "One thirty seven," she whispered as Gavin pulled her into a tight hug.
"Sorry?" Beatrice said, confused.
"It whispered in my ear. One three seven."
Beatrice chewed her lip in concentration for a brief moment before her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, "it's a room number! Alright, so if these spirits aren't trying to hurt anyone..."
"Then what are they trying to do?" Dean finished.
"Maybe that's what they've been trying to tell us," Sam suggested.
Dean hummed in agreement. "I guess we'll find out."
"Alright, so are you guys ready to leave this place?" Beatrice asked the young couple, both of whom nodded.
"That's an understatement," Kat told her wearily.
Dean chuckled at her response and turned to Sam and Beatrice. "You two get them out of here. I'm going to find room one three seven."
"Alright, be safe," Beatrice told him firmly. He grinned mischievously and winked at her, and then took off down the corridor in the opposite direction to the exit. Beatrice chuckled.
With her gun clenched tightly in her hands, she led Sam, Kat and Gavin back towards the door to the south wing. "So, how do you guys know about all this ghost stuff?" Kat asked them, breaking the awkward silence.
"It's uh, kinda our job," Sam chuckled.
"Why would anyone want a job like that?"
"We had crappy guidance counsellors," Beatrice teased.
"And Dean?" Kat pressed, "he's your boss?"
Beatrice struggled to stifle a laugh. "No. Sam and Dean are brothers, and I'm just... along for the ride."
"You're a bit more than that, Bea," Sam smiled, "I think we'd both be lost without you."
That time, Beatrice did little to conceal the heat rising to her face and though Sam noticed and she knew he had, he didn't say anything. They finally reached the exit, but when Sam pushed on the door, it refused to budge, even a little. Beatrice's face fell and she tried the latch on one of the windows, but it too was locked. "Alright," she said, slowly turning to face Kat and Gavin, "I think we have a small problem."
"Break the door down!" Gavin cried.
"I don't think that's going to work."
"Then how are we supposed to get out?"
"That's the point, we're not," Sam told him, "there's something in here. It doesn't want us to leave."
"No. Something else."
"So what the hell are we going to do?" Gavin demanded, watching as Beatrice tried the other windows, but every single one was bolted tightly, and there was no amount of lock-jiggling that was going to help them.
"Well, for starters, we're not going to panic," she tried to assure them but Gavin still looked petrified.
"Why the hell not?" He demanded.
Before Beatrice could answer, Sam's phone rang, silencing her. "Hey." He said, putting it on speakerphone.
"Sam, it's me," Dean said on the other end, his voice uncharacteristically shaky, "I can see it. It's coming after me!"
Sam's face fell. "Where are you?" He asked urgently.
"In the basement. Hurry up!"
"I'm on my way." Sam hung up the phone and turned to Beatrice. "I'm leaving them with you. If I'm not back in ten minutes, get the hell out of here. No matter what." He turned to go, but Beatrice grabbed his wrist. He stopped dead in his tracks, glancing back at her over his shoulder with both his eyebrows raised.
"Be safe." She warned him seriously.
Despite himself, Sam smiled. "Always." He assured her, and then like that, he was gone.
Fifteen minutes passed and Sam still hadn't returned. Beatrice had been lingering by the doorway, shotgun in hand, but when she finally took note of the time she let out a frustrated groan, startling the other two. "I'm going after him," she said decidedly.
"But Sam said-" Gavin started but Beatrice cut him off.
"I heard what he said, and I don't care. Can either of you handle a shotgun?"
"I can," Kat said sheepishly, "my dad took me skeet shooting a couple of times."
"Alright, here," Beatrice said, passing her the shotgun. "It's loaded with rock salt. It may not kill a spirit, but it will repel it, so if you see anything at all, shoot. Okay?"
"Right. Good luck." Beatrice saluted a goodbye and set off down the corridor. She could only hope that when she found the brothers, she'd find them alive.
We've almost reached the halfway point!! Just thirty chapters to go before we reach our conclusion of this particular story. Thank you as always for any kind comments and kudos left. I hope you enjoyed!
"Sam? Sammy?" Beatrice crept through the corridors, her pistol in one hand, and her flashlight in the other. "Dean? Guys?"
There was no response. Beatrice had half a mind to go back to Kat and Gavin, but when she turned a corner, she stopped dead. Sam was at the end of the corridor with her back to her. Beatrice breathed out heavily in relief and started towards him. "Sam!" She called, "I was so worried about you! Are you okay?"
At the sound of her voice, Sam turned around to face her. He was smiling, but there was something about it that didn't seem quite right and Beatrice found herself taking a step back from him. "Never better," he said. He took a bold step towards her, closing the space between them and he slammed her up against the wall by her shoulders.
"Sam?" Beatrice said shakily, looking up at him with wide, doe-like eyes.
Sam ignored her. He dipped his head and pressed his lips hungrily to hers.
"Whoa, okay." Dean's voice came from somewhere across from them and Beatrice automatically pulled away from Sam, almost smacking the back of her head on the wall behind her. "Uh... Sam, answer me when I'm calling you. You alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Sam said bluntly.
"Uh-huh. You know it wasn't me who called your cell, right?"
"Yeah, I know. I think something lured me down here."
"I think I know who. Doctor Ellicott. That's what the spirits have been trying to tell us. You haven't seen him, have you?"
"No. How do you know it was him?"
"Because I found his log book. Apparently he was experimenting on his patients, awful stuff. Makes lobotomies look like a couple of aspirin." He said darkly, but then paused. He glanced down at Beatrice, and then back up at his brother. "Uh... Sam? Are you gonna let her go?"
Sam followed Dean's gaze down at Beatrice. He was still gripping her arms, so tightly it was sure to bruise, but he finally released her. "It was the patients who rioted." Beatrice reminded Dean softly, trying to rub some feeling back into her arms.
"Yeah, they were rioting against Dr Ellicott. Dr Feelgood was working on like, some sort of extreme rage therapy. He thought if he could get his patients to vent their anger, they'd be cured of it. Instead, it only made them worse and worse, and angrier and angrier. So I'm thinking, what if the spirit is doing the same thing? To the cop, to the kids in the seventies, making them so angry they become homicidal," Dean explained quickly. "Come on, we've got to find his bones and torch them."
"How?" Beatrice frowned, stepping away from the wall. "The police never found his body."
"The log book said he had some sort of hidden procedure room down here somewhere, where he'd work on his patients. So, if I was a patient I'd drag his ass down there, do a little work on it myself."
"I don't know, it sounds kinda..."
"Crazy?" Dean grinned.
"Yeah," Beatrice admitted.
"Yeah, exactly." Dean opened the door he was standing in front of, and then nodded to Sam and Beatrice, giving them the signal that it was okay to follow him in.
"I told you," Sam insisted, "I looked everywhere. I didn't find a hidden room!"
"Well, that's why they call it hidden," Dean shrugged. "You hear that?"
"What?" Beatrice asked, craning to hear.
Dean hushed her. He crouched on his hands and knees by the wall. "There's a door," he said after a moment, "here."
"Dean." Sam said in a dangerously low tone. Dean looked up from the secret door towards his brother and his eyes widened. Sam had his arm around Beatrice's neck and his gun pressed to her temple. "Step away from the door."
"Sam, put the gun down." Dean warned him.
"Is that an order?"
"Nah, it's more like a... friendly request."
"Because I'm getting pretty sick of taking your orders." Sam went on, seemingly ignoring him.
"Sam, please," Beatrice begged, tugging lightly at his arm. In response, he tightened his grip around her throat and she gasped for air, clawing at his arm instead.
"Stay out of this, Beatrice!" Sam yelled, straight in her ear. She tried to flinch away from him but he only pressed the gun harder against her head. "You’re nothing, don’t you understand that? You're weak. You're pathetic!”
"I knew it," Dean muttered, "Ellicott did something to you."
"Dean, For once in your life, just shut your mouth."
"What are you going to do, Sam?" Dean said softly, "gun's filled with rock salt. It's not going to kill her."
"No," Sam agreed, "but it'll hurt like hell."
In one swift movement, Sam pulled the gun away from Beatrice's head and shot Dean square in the chest. The impact of the salt sent him flying straight into the next room. Sam dropped Beatrice to the floor where she landed painfully on her knees, and she drank in a much needed lungful of air. She tried to crawl away from him and towards Dean, but he overtook over with ease.
"Sam..." Dean pleaded as his brother loomed over him. "We gotta burn Ellicott's bones. This will all be over. You'll be back to normal!"
"I am normal," Sam insisted, his every word dripping with venom, "I'm just telling the truth, for the first time. I mean, why are we even here? Because you're following Dad's orders like a good little soldier? Because you always do what he says, without question? Are you that desperate for his approval?"
"This isn't you talking, Sam." Beatrice said desperately as she struggled to her feet but he turned and backhanded her across the face, sending her back down to the ground. "Sam, please-"
"That's the difference between you two, and me. I have a mind of my own. I can think, I don’t follow blindly because no one else wants you,” Sam interrupted her viciously.
"So what are you going to do, huh?" Dean pressed, lifting his head, "are you going to kill us?"
"You know what, I am sick of doing what you tell me to do. We're no closer to finding Dad today than we were six months ago."
"Well, then, here. Let me make it easier for you," Dean held out his pistol, "come on. Take it. Real bullets are gonna work a hell of a lot better than rock salt. Take it!"
"Dean, no!" Beatrice screamed but was hit again. Sam snatched the gun and aimed it at Dean's face, much to Beatrice’s horror.
"You hate me that much? You think you could kill your own brother?" Dean cried, "then go ahead. Pull the trigger. Do it!"
Sam's finger flexed around the trigger and in a moment of panic, Beatrice flung her hand out towards him, exactly like she had done to the shapeshifter all those weeks ago. Sam flew backwards against the wall, where he hit his head and slumped to the floor, unmoving. Dean stared at her, his eyes wide. "Bea... what the hell did you do?"
"There isn't time to explain," she said, finally able to get back to her feet, "we need to torch the bones. Now, Dean!"
Dean nodded, too stunned to argue with her. She helped him up and he rushed over to the door he had found. Upon pulling it open, he found the mummified remains of Doctor Ellicott. He wrinkled his nose in disgust, pouring salt over the body. "Soak it up." He mumbled.
"Uh... Dean?" Beatrice mumbled by the doorway.
"One second, Bea."
Dean looked up just in time to see a gurney fly across the room and pin him to the wall. Beatrice swore, starting towards him but Ellicott reached her first, knocking her to the ground and placing his rotting hands on either side of her head. "Don't be afraid. I'm going to help you. I'm going to make you all better," the spirit slurred.
"Beatrice!" Dean managed to throw the gurney away from him and he started towards her but she threw out her hand to stop him.
"Burn the bones! Dean, burn the bones!" She screamed, struggling violently with Ellicott. Dean didn't need to be told twice. He sprinted to the body, throwing the remaining salt onto the corpse, followed by his lighter. Ellicott's hands fell away from Beatrice's face and his body crumpled, turning to ash.
In the room behind them, they heard Sam awake, and they rushed in to him.
"You're not gonna try and kill us, are you?" Dean asked him.
"No," Sam said.
"Good," Beatrice said with a strained smile, "because that would be awkward."
"Thanks, guys." Kat smiled as they reached the parking lot, just as the sun began to rise.
Gavin smiled weakly, throwing his arm around her waist. "Yeah. Thanks."
"No more haunted asylums, okay?" Beatrice said, waving them off as they returned to their car. The trio began walking to the Impala.
"Hey, guys?" Sam bit his bottom lip uncomfortably as he looked at Dean and Beatrice, who both stopped to look at him. "I'm sorry. I said some awful things back there."
"You remember all that?" Beatrice asked him. She involuntarily shuddered at the memory of Sam's fist hitting her face.
"Yeah," Sam nodded, "it's like I couldn't control it. But I didn't mean any of it."
"You didn't, huh?" Dean said thoughtfully.
"No, of course not! Do we need to talk about this?"
"No," Dean shrugged, "I'm not really in the sharing and caring kinda mood. I just wanna get some sleep."
Sam smiled and got into the car. Beatrice moved to follow him, but Dean grabbed her hand and held her back. "When are we going to talk about what happened in there, Bea?" He asked her firmly, but there was no real malice to his voice, just... fear.
Beatrice looked down shamefully at her hands. Dean would swear he saw tears come into her eyes. "Dean, I... I don't know what's wrong with me," she admitted, and Dean heard her voice tremble, "I don't... I don't know if I can control it." She looked up at him, affirming his worst fears; Beatrice Di Angelis was crying. "Dean, am I bad?"
Dean sighed. He seemed to hesitate, just for a moment, but when he looked into her eyes, he knew she had never wanted to hurt anyone, let alone him or his brother. He had every mind to berate her for keeping it a secret, for however long she had been, but he simply couldn't bring himself to. Instead, he wrapped his arms tightly around her and drew her into his chest. "No, you're not bad, Bea. And we'll figure this out, whatever it is, okay? I promise."
Beatrice parted from him, wiping her tears with her sleeve. "Thank you."
"Yeah, don't mention it, kid." Dean ruffled her hair, making her giggle, and he watched as she got into the Impala before getting in himself.
"Bea," Sam said from the front, turning around to face her, "I am... so, so sorry. I never, ever wanted to put my hands on you. I hurt you, I..." he trailed off, unsure of the words to say.
Beatrice smiled weakly, reaching into the front of the car so she could take his hand. "It wasn't your fault."
"Bea, you're covered in bruises," Sam said mournfully, "I did that to you."
Beatrice glanced down at her arms. Sure enough, there were small, crescent shaped bruises on her arms where Sam had dug his fingers into her flesh, and she knew from glancing in the wing mirror that the skin on her throat was beginning to darken where she'd been choked. "I know," she said after a moment, "but... I don't blame you."
Sam sighed sadly. "You are far too good to me, Beatrice."
Chapter 27: Faith
It wasn't often that Beatrice Wells got to enjoy a full night's sleep.
Technically, it was in fact the middle of the day, but Beatrice was going to take what she could get.
The case they had taken on that particular week should have been simple; so simple in fact, that Sam and Dean insisted Beatrice stay back at the motel. They were confident they were going to have it covered without a third pair of hands. So Beatrice, as any smart hunter would do, had taken the opportunity to get her head down for a full eight hours sleep.
Or so she thought.
At first, she thought the phone ringing had been part of a dream. But considering her dream had been set in the jungle, that made very little sense, and eventually, she startled awake.
Still dazed, she reached for the phone on the nightstand. She already had five missed calls from Sam, and she wondered just how long he had been trying to get a hold of her. Beatrice sighed heavily, lifting the phone to her ear. "Sam, this better be important-" She started grumpily, still groggy from sleep, but Sam cut her off with alarming urgency.
"Bea, it's Dean," Sam said shakily, "he's... he's in the hospital. I think he's had a heart attack."
Beatrice bolted upright in bed, suddenly wide awake. "What? Oh my God," she balanced the phone between her ear and her shoulder as she rushed around the motel room, hurriedly changing into some clean clothes, "i-is he okay? I mean, is he alive?"
"He was alive when we got here, but..." Sam trailed off. Beatrice heard his breath hitch sharply as he fought tears.
"Alright, Sammy, just... stay calm, okay? I'm on my way."
Beatrice hung up the phone. She threw a hoodie on over the top of her clothes and rushed out into the parking lot. Her hands shook so violently she dropped the key to the motel door when she tried to lock it, and she had to take a moment to compose herself. What the hell were they supposed to do if they lost Dean? The thought was near unbearable.
She jogged from the parking lot onto the main road by the motel, just in time to hail a passing cab. The journey was undeniably tense; the driver barely saying a word to her as he spotted her violently fighting tears in the rear view mirror. He must have known better than to try and speak to her.
When he pulled up outside the hospital, Sam was already waiting by the entrance for her. She paid the fee and got out, practically sprinting over to the younger Winchester. He caught her, drawing her tightly against her chest.
"Sam, what the hell happened?" Beatrice said into his soft shirt.
"I... I don't know," Sam said. His voice was hoarse from crying. "I thought we had the upper hand against the Rawhead, but... something went wrong. I should never have left him on his own, he-"
"Whoa, okay, Sam, just breathe," Beatrice said. She parted from the hug and took Sam's face between her hands. "Calm down. Whatever happened, it wasn't your fault, alright? You don't have to blame yourself."
Sam sniffled as Beatrice saw him hold back fresh tears. "He ended up electrocuted."
Beatrice's heart sank. "Holy shit," she muttered.
"Bea... what if..."
"No, don't say it," Beatrice interrupted fiercely, "he's in the best place, alright? Dean isn't going to die."
They both knew she didn't fully believe that, but neither of them said anything. Sam took Beatrice's hand and the two of them made their way mournfully into the waiting room, where a doctor and a couple of nurses were stood chatting in hushed voices by the front desk. When they spotted Sam and Beatrice, the conversation fizzled out, and the doctor strolled over to them.
"Hey, Doc," Sam said softly, "is he..."
"He's resting," the doctor said, and for just a moment, the hunters were both relieved. At least Dean was alive.
"And?" Beatrice pressed. She hadn't meant to come across rude, but she was terrified.
"The electrocution triggered a heart attack," the doctor explained, confirming Sam and Beatrice's worst fear, "pretty massive, I'm afraid. His heart, it's... damaged."
Sam's face fell. "How damaged?" He asked, though he was afraid to know the answer.
The doctor sighed heavily. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. The sour expression on his face caused Beatrice's own heart to sink even further into the pit of her stomach. "We've done all we can. We can try and keep him comfortable at this point. But I'd give him a couple weeks. At most? Maybe a month."
"No. No. There's... there's gotta be something you can do, some kind of treatment!"
"We can't work miracles. I really am sorry."
The doctor patted Sam sympathetically on the shoulder and then followed the two nurses onto the opposite ward. Sam and Beatrice stared after him, both of them equally stunned. "This can't be it," Beatrice said tearfully, "I don't... no."
Sam collapsed into one of the waiting room chairs, leaning forward against his knees with his head in his hands. His breathing had become heavy and erratic, and Beatrice realised with a pang that he was having a panic attack. "Sammy?" She said softly. She sunk into the seat beside his and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Sammy, it..." she trailed off. She had wanted to say, 'it'll be okay', but they both knew that was bullshit.
Instead, she said nothing at all. She turned and buried her face in his shoulder, gritting her teeth to stop herself from breaking down as well. That was the last thing either of them needed and she knew it. Sam's breathing started to slow, and he reached out with one arm which he wrapped securely around her shoulders, pulling her a little closer against his side. "What the hell are we going to do, Bea?" He said softly, resting his face against the top of her head.
Beatrice didn't know how to answer him. She breathed out heavily, trying to find the right words, but nothing would come to her. "We should... we should go see him," she said after what felt like an eternity.
Sam nodded shakily in agreement. He got up from the chair and held a hand out towards her to help her up, which she accepted, but even as he pulled her to her feet, neither of them let go.
Sam led her down the corridor towards the ward were Dean was sitting propped up in a bed, staring up at a TV though his eyes were glazed over and it was clear he wasn't really paying attention to the show at all. "Have you ever actually watched daytime TV?" Dean asked them without turning around to face them, "it's terrible."
Sam shook his head. "We talked to your doctor."
"That fabric softener teddy bear," Dean said softly, still paying more attention to the commercial than to Sam, "oh, I'm gonna hunt that little bitch down."
"Dean," Beatrice said, in a slightly firmer tone than the one Sam had used.
Dean's eyes finally flickered towards her and Beatrice saw how awful he looked. His usually tanned complexion was ashy and pale, and there were dark circles around his eyes, so dark they were almost black. He sighed heavily, noting the serious expression on her face, and he used the small remote control beside him to turn the TV off. "Yeah. Alright. Well, looks like you're gonna have to leave town without me."
"What are you talking about?" Beatrice asked him, crossing her arms over her chest, "we're not going to leave you here."
"Hey, you better take care of that car, or I swear, I'll haunt your asses."
"I don't think that's funny," Sam said crossly.
"Oh, come on!" Dean grinned weakly. "It's a little funny." He looked between the two of them, but when he saw they were both still fighting tears, the smile dropped from his face and he sighed. "Look, guys, what can I say? It's a dangerous gig. I drew the short straw. That's it, end of story."
"Don't talk like that, alright?" Beatrice exploded, "we still have options!"
"What options?" Dean scoffed, "yeah, burial or cremation? And I know it's not easy, but... I'm gonna die. And you can't stop it."
Sam and Beatrice exchanged a glance. "Watch us."
Hello lovelies! Apologies for the lack of updates last week, I was working late on the Thursday and on Sunday I was simply very tired and didn't feel like writing. But we're back! I'm anticipating uploading a new chapter of 'To Stare Into the Face of God' by tomorrow, but for now here's a lil update for our favourite hunters.
"This isn't fair." Beatrice grumbled. She was sitting cross legged against the headboard of her motel bed, flicking through a book on cardiovascular health that Sam had taken out of the local library, while Sam himself was sitting on his own bed, typing furiously at his laptop.
"It's not," Sam agreed, closing the lid of his laptop. "It's seriously unfair."
Beatrice glanced across at him. His fists were clenched tightly by his sides and his lower lip was trembling violently. She was worried he was going to have another panic attack. She set down her book and crawled across to his bed, wrapping her arms silently around his middle. Sam seemed surprised at the show of affection at first, but then he rested his head on her shoulder and sighed.
"We'll be okay, you and me," Beatrice said softly to him, "we can carry on. We'll find your dad, and whatever killed your mom and Jessica. And... we'll be alright."
"You think?" Sam asked with a sniffle as he looked up at her.
"Yeah, I do." Beatrice said, "I mean, come on, Dean taught us practically everything we know, right?"
Sam chuckled. "Right." His face fell suddenly and he glanced across the bed at his cell phone. "Do you... think I should call Dad?"
Beatrice sighed, "do you want me to be honest or kind?"
"I mean... I don't know if he'll answer, Sam. But he deserves to know all the same."
Sam hummed in agreement. He picked up his phone from the other side of the bed, but once it was in his hand, he appeared to hesitate. Beatrice reached out and took his free hand, giving it a small, encouraging squeeze. Sam smiled weakly at her and then dialled his father's number. The two of them were silent as the phone rang, but as expected, there was no answer. Sam deflated. He visibly wrestled with the idea of leaving John completely in the dark, but when he glanced across at Beatrice, she gave his hand another little squeeze, giving him the confidence to leave a voicemail.
"Hey, Dad, it's Sam. Uh... you probably won't even get this, but uh... it's Dean. He's sick, and the doctors say there's nothing they can do. But... they don't know the things we know, right? So don't worry, because me and Bea, we're gonna do whatever it takes to get him better. Alright, just... wanted you to know."
Sam hung up and dropped the phone heavily back onto the bed, exhausted with the weight of the task he had undergone. "You okay?" Beatrice asked quietly. Sam nodded, despite himself. Beatrice planted a gentle kiss on his cheek. "I'm proud of you."
A small smile tugged at the corners of Sam's mouth. He glanced down at Beatrice's lips, then back up at her eyes, only to see she was already staring at his own lips. "Sam..." She said softly, her voice barely above a breath. Had Sam not been so close to her, he probably wouldn't have heard her at all. Sam's hand crept onto her thigh, but as he started to lean in, there was a knock on the door.
Beatrice startled, quickly breaking away from him. Sam cleared his throat, dropping his hand from her thigh as she got up to answer the door. Every freakin' time, she thought glumly, but when she opened the door, all thoughts of kissing Sam were torn from her head.
"Dean?" She exclaimed.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Sam demanded, getting up from the bed.
Dean grinned at them. He stepped around Beatrice into the motel room, though he winced with the effort of doing so, and had to use the doorframe to hold himself up. "I checked myself out," he told them nonchalantly.
"What, are you crazy?" Beatrice snapped.
"Well, I'm not gonna die in a hospital where the nurses aren't even hot," he shrugged, like it was no big deal. He sat down on the edge of Beatrice's bed and she huffed at him as she closed the door.
"You know, this whole 'I laugh in the face of death' thing? It's crap," Sam told him, "I can see right through it."
"Yeah, whatever dude," Dean said, "have either of you even slept? You look worse than me."
"We've been scouring the internet for the last three days," Beatrice told him, sitting at the table, "calling every contact in John's journal."
Dean eyed her carefully. "For what?"
"For a way to help you. One of John's friends, Joshua, he called us back. Told us about a guy in Nebraska. A specialist."
"You're not gonna let me die in peace, are you?"
"We're not gonna let you die period," Sam said firmly, "we're going."
"Beatrice, you are a lying bastard," Dean said grumpily as Sam helped him out of the Impala, "thought you said we were going to see a doctor."
Beatrice shrugged. She shut the passenger side door behind her and glanced past Sam and Dean at the large marquee tent that had been set up in the middle of the field. "I believe I said a specialist. Look, Dean, this guy's supposed to be the real deal."
"I can't believe you brought me here to see some guy who heals people out of a tent," Dean grumbled.
"Reverend LeGrange is a great man," an elderly woman told them as she passed them by.
"Yeah, that's nice," Dean scoffed in response.
"I have a right to protest!" Another man yelled loudly at a cop as he pulled him away from the tent, "this man is a fraud. And he's milking all these people out of their hard earned money!"
"Sir this is a place of worship," the cop told him tiredly, "let's go. Move it."
"I take it he's not part of the flock," Dean said, watching the spat unfold.
"But when people see something they can't explain, there's controversy," Sam sighed.
"I mean, come on, guys. A faith healer?"
"Maybe it's time to have a little faith, Dean," Beatrice shrugged.
Dean shot her a look. He had been hoping she'd be on his side, but Dean often forgot; Beatrice was Italian, and raised Roman Catholic. She'd be the first to jump on some crazy religious bandwagon if she thought it was going to save his or Sam's life. "You know what I've got faith in?" He challenged her, "reality. Knowing what's really going on."
"How can you be a skeptic?" She countered, "with the things we see every day?"
"Exactly. We see them. We know they're real."
"But if you know evil's out there, how can you not believe good's out there, too?" Sam argued.
"Because I've seen what evil does to good people."
"Maybe God works in mysterious ways."
The trio turned to face the tent to see who had spoken. A young, pretty blonde woman was standing by the entrance, and had clearly overheard their increasingly heated conversation. "Maybe he does," Dean agreed, his expression softening, "I think you just turned me around on the subject."
"Yeah, I'm sure," the woman laughed, but her cheeks flushed pink regardless.
"I'm Dean. This is Sam, and this is Bea."
"Layla," the woman said, giving Dean's hand a little shake. "So, if you're not a believer, then why are you here?"
"Apparently Sam and Bea here believe enough for the three of us."
An older woman poked her head around the entrance to the tent. "Come on, Layla. It's about to start."
Layla smiled warmly at the three of them and then followed the older woman into the tent. Dean whistled, grinning over at Sam and Beatrice. "Well, I bet you she can work in some mysterious ways."
Beatrice scoffed, giving Dean an incredibly gentle dig in the ribs. "Yeah, alright, Romeo. Come on."